Weekly Reflection - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 16, 2018

Meditation on Selections of the Sunday Gospel, Mark 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” (8:27). Caesarea Philippi was built on a site famous for being a place of pagan worship. The confession of faith Jesus solicits from his disciples happens in a region devoted to the idol worship of false gods. “God has led his people on ‘the way’ out of Egypt into the promised land; Isaiah prophesied that God would prepare a ‘way’ for his people to return home to Zion.” (Mary Healey)

Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him (8:30). “One of the characteristics of divinity is to be hidden, and Christ brought this characteristic with him in his career on earth. It is not his role to provide a ready-made truth but to elicit it, to draw it forth from those primordial depths of human nature.” (Paul Claudel)

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days (8:31). “What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe.” (Flannery O’ Connor)

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it” (8:34-35). “What does it mean to take up one’s cross? Bearing every annoyance patiently. When someone begins to follow Christ’s way of life and his commandments, they will meet resistance on every side. They will be opposed, mocked, even persecuted—and this not only by unbelievers but also by people who, to all appearances, belong to the Body of Christ. Endure injuries, do not be overcome by them. The devil may trick us into wanting the many useless and harmful things that plunge people into ruin and destruction. May we be free from this temptation through the protection of our Lord. (St. Caesarius of Arles)

—Selections from Lectio Divina, Magnificat, Sept. 2018, pp. 238-240






























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