Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 50: 5-9 James 2: 14-18 Mark 8: 27
"You are The Christ"
In today's gospel reading, Peter proclaims Jesus as "The Christ" which translates to "Messiah." The Jewish community of the day had some very specific Ideas about their "Messiah." He would be the conquering hero... the redeemer... who would set them free and elevate their status high above any other people. The disciples expected the same. Even when Jesus tells them that He would endure great humiliation, suffering, and death, they didn't comprehend. He tries to soften the blow by indicating His glorious and victorious resurrection, but that was even more unbelievable. What did it all mean? They knew He was the Messiah. No such things could happen to the Messiah.
Jesus goes even further. He tells them, "If you wish to come after me, you must deny your very self, take up your cross and follow in my footsteps." They had been following Jesus for a long time. All his words and actions only solidified their belief. There were difficult times. They had been scorned and laughed at for believing in what many considered to be just another itinerant preacher. They stood firm. There was something unique and different about this man. They were waiting for, no, they expected full vindication. What a surprise... what a disappointment Good Friday was. What now?
We have the good fortune to know the end of the story. We enter into our relationship with Jesus knowing exactly who he is. There is no question that He is our Redeemer, our Messiah. We can say, as does Isaiah In the first reading, "God is my helper. Therefore, I am not confounded." This does not preclude moments of doubt or fear. We will be tested. We will be challenged. But, we, like the disciples, will stand firm. If Jesus asks us today, "Who do YOU (emphasis added) say that I am?" we will confidently respond, "You are Christ, the Son of the living God." and we know exactly what that means!
Pat O'Malley, Associate