Mark 8, 27-35:
Sunday, 12th September 2021 (24th T O B).
At the time of Jesus the Jewish people were anxious for the coming of a messiah, a saviour. Throughout its history Israel has suffered constant oppression by other, stronger peoples (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece…). Now it is the Romans who oppress them. They cry out for a saviour, and many believe they see him in different characters (John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets…). That is why Jesus asks the disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is”? (another name for the expected messiah). After listening to their answers, he asks them directly: “And you, who do you say that I am?” Again Peter, so impulsive, and moved by the Spirit of God, takes the floor and answers: “You are the Messiah”. And Jesus asks the twelve not to tell anyone that he is the Messiah. And in explaining what this meant in terms of dedication and suffering to the end, Peter, in his immature faith, does not understand what the Master is saying. Neither he nor the others are in a position to understand what Jesus is saying. Even less so when he tells them that they “must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him”.
There are times when we must be ready to give an account of our faith: “Who do you say that I am? Who is Jesus for me, what does he mean in my life, am I able to manifest my faith in challenging environments? “My Lord helps me”, says the prophet Isaiah in the first reading. In the second reading, the apostle James tells us that this faith must be proven by deeds.
Jesus has now risen and appeared alive to those who believed in him. They went out to tell the whole world about him, even at the risk of their own lives. And through them that faith has come to us.
In our participation in the Sunday Eucharist, as we listen to the Word of God, may we feel the presence of the Spirit in our lives, and may it be the strength we need to live and proclaim Jesus as our Messiah and Saviour.
Juan Ramón Gómez Pascual, cmf