Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature
(Mark 16: 15)
Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and
Who Do You Say I Am?
Ordinary 24 Year B St. Mark 8: 27 to 35
1. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”.
As we noted in our Reflection, “mere declaration, proclamation and giving witness of personal belief are not sufficient to establish Christian faith”. (Lane) We might say, that is only “one side of the coin”. The other, which is just as necessary, is that the disciples must be willing to suffer and die with their Lord.
For some followers of Jesus Christ, this may entail cruel suffering, even martyrdom. For others, it will mean dying to self in the day-to-day workings of life. This means a range of challenges whereby the old self is laid to rest and our true self rises to live according to the Spirit given to us. All are called in this life, to die to self in this way, even if not by martyrdom. Traditional Christian spirituality even encourages the faithful to train themselves to go without certain things and to offer that as a sacrifice to God: Making do, putting others first — these are practical expressions of living by the standards of Jesus.
2. Jesus said, ….. “the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders,
In the third Millennium we still hear of Christians looking on all Jews as Christ-killers. All such references are made by people who do not know what they are talking about — and as is so often observed — don’t really care. This is a very serious matter. If one is going to quote Scripture to prove this charge, one should know sufficient to make valid observations. If we know sufficient about the use of language in the New Testament we will observe that nowhere are the ordinary Jews referred to as responsible for the unjust execution of Jesus by the Romans. Our reading
It simply has to be said, that as a religious culture, Christianity is deeply in debt to Judaism for the vast heritage we have inherited from these people. It also has to be admitted that we have committed a most grievous offence for burdening Jews with a blanket accusation that they (collectively) crucified Jesus. This is patently wrong, and we have barely begun to acknowledge this, let alone make amends. Such action is now overdue.
3. The sad demise of our once great Christian culture has begun to take on some frightening perspectives. In the West we are being bullied into complying with the new “order”, the new “morality”. Of course, some among us would say, “Where’s the morality, where’s the order”? In other parts of the world, Christians are suffering brutality, injustice and oppression almost beyond description.
Whatever our situation, our response has to be the same: “Watch and pray” — that is, Keep our mind and heart focussed on our Lord Jesus Christ, and follow Him closely. In this way we align ourselves with the Will of God and though we may lose our life — if it is for Jesus and the Gospel, then we will save it.
That is a promise out of the mouth of Him through whom all things were made.
Let us pray for one another as we confront a very disturbed and confused culture — that we will try our best to pass on to deprived souls, the beautiful story of the Messiah and what He yearns to share with all mankind. It is not all “doom and gloom”. There is light at the end of the tunnel: that is, life in the fullness of the Light — the source of Light —