SEPTEMBER 25 Ord Time B. Wk 25. Sat. Lk. 9. 43-45
At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: “The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.”’ But they did not understand him when he said this; it was hidden from them so that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were afraid to ask him about what he had just said.
Today’s gospel took place immediately following the Transfiguration, an event that would have had an enormous impact on Peter, James and John as they had just witnessed Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus; - and this had been followed by them hearing the voice of God the Father saying; - “This is my beloved Son, my chosen one; - listen to him!”
This would have boosted their confidence that Jesus was indeed the Saviour of the World, who had been forecast by the prophets over many centuries, and they would have felt reassured that nothing would be able to prevent Jesus establishing his new Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
But there are two different aspects of the Christian vocation, the first being the invitation to enter into an intimate and loving relationship with God; - and then there is the second aspect; - the need to endure suffering and sacrifice in reparation for sin.
The Transfiguration would have convinced the disciples of the first part; - but before they spent too much time rejoicing, Christ needed to point out the need for self-denial and sacrifice, which he did again in today’s reading.
Many Christians focus on the rewards of being a follower of Jesus, but they tend to “overlook” the teachings of Christ on the need to endure suffering in reparation for the sins, not only for their own sins, but also the sins of the world.
Christ, on a number of different occasions had informed his disciples of his pending Passion and Death, but generally in a veiled way. His intention in doing this was probably to inform them in advance, so after they had witnessed his Passion and Death, they would then recall what he had told them.
One each of the occasions when he had told his followers of his pending death and resurrection the subject was quickly avoided; - not only by Christ, but also by his listeners; -so even Christ did not want to elaborate too much, at this time, about his coming death.
When we consider Christ’s Passion today, we do so after the event, and we view his Passion, Death and Resurrection as his greatest moment; - but we do so fully aware of his Resurrection. It would have been a very different situation for the disciples; - being told Christ’s death and Resurrection without the historical context with which we view it.
The disciples had obviously received the information and understood Christ was giving them notice of a major event which involved his being “handed over into the power of men,” but we are also told; “they were afraid to ask him about what he had just said!”
Even today many Christians do not like to ponder the need for reparation and suffering; - as we are told in “the Imitation of Christ”; - “There are many who love his heavenly kingdom, but few who carry his Cross! - Plenty share in his banquet; - but few share in his fasting!”
Gospel Acclamation cf.2Tm1:10
Our Saviour Jesus Christ has done away with death
and brought us life through his gospel.
First reading Zechariah 2:5-9,14-15 · 'I will be the glory of Jerusalem'
Raising my eyes, I saw a vision. It was this: there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to find out her breadth and her length.’ And then, while the angel who was talking to me stood still, another angel came forward to meet him. He said to him, ‘Run, and tell that young man this, “Jerusalem is to remain unwalled, because of the great number of men and cattle there will be in her. But I – it is the Lord who speaks – I will be a wall of fire for her all round her, and I will be her glory in the midst of her.”’
daughter of Zion;
for I am coming
to dwell in the middle of you
– it is the Lord who speaks.
Many nations will join the Lord,
on that day;
they will become his people.