14 Sep 24th Sunday
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
We have reached the mid- point of Mark’s Gospel and there is a radical change in the Evangelist’s approach. Jesus has been teaching in Galilee. He moves from displays of proving his divinity with descriptions of healings and speaking with power and authority. He now turns for Jerusalem and begins to focus on teaching his closest disciples about what it means for him to be the Christ, God’s anointed one. He wants them to know that in taking up his cross that he does so willingly. He begins to show his true humanity by allowing himself to suffer and ultimately to die.
Jesus invited the Apostles to take up their cross and follow him. It was not a message they were anxious to hear. Peter knew that if his Messiah is going to suffer, so will his followers. Jesus simply told the disciples to “follow me.” Staying with Jesus, in spite of his warning that he and they would suffer, was what constituted the group as disciples. Having heard about the cost, they continued to listen to him.
Last Sunday, we considered the need to have our ears opened in order to hear Christ’s message. This Sunday, the scene opens with Jesus asking the disciples what they have heard about him. They responded with people’s opinion. It seems that there was popular talk and plenty of confusion about Jesus. After letting them talk about what they had heard, Jesus terminated the opinion poll and put them on the spot: “But you! Who do you say that I am?” That was the question of their lives. Why were they on the road with him? What were they seeking? How far were they willing to go? Peter proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God.
At this stage of the Gospel, Peter and the disciples are like the deaf man whose ears Jesus opened. Peter, speaking and acting on behalf of the disciples, communicated two important things. First, he professed faith in Jesus. The, when Jesus told him his faith was distorted, he remained to learn more.
The journey to Jerusalem would be long and hard, and even when they reached the climax of the cross, the disciples hadn’t comprehended Jesus’ message. But they had the love and faithfulness to remain on the road with him, and that was all that was necessary. With the current scandals in the church, one might be tempted to leave. However, Jesus says don’t leave – LEAD. Jesus says that he chooses to need us. How will we respond? As Peter said in last week’s Gospel: “What you say Lord is difficult, but where can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
On this Catechetical Sunday we give thanks to God for our many wonderful Catechists. May God bless, preserve and keep them! May he bless up with many more good and faithful friends to share the Gospel! Peace and Blessings!