Saturday, September 16, 2006
24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
SEPTEMBER 17, 2006
24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - B
The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know
how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after
morning he opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks
to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets
and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to
shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose
me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront
me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong? Lo, they
will all wear out like cloth, the moth will eat them up.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does
not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has
nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to
them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give
them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of
itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might
say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me
without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
Now 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?" They said in reply, "John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets." And he asked them, "But who do
you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the
Messiah." Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. 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. He spoke this openly. Then Peter
took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around
and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind
me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings
do." He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to
them, "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.
Jesus came as a poor carpenter from an obscure town of Nazareth, and
becoming a wandering preacher. He refused to fulfill the role of a
triumphal Messianic king. So, the people rejected him even though
he was fulfilling the prophecies concerning the Messiah.
After three years of public ministry, when he knew the end was near,
it was important for him to know if his closest disciples
understood. So he asked the question "Who do people say that I
am?" The answers were not very satisfactory. The highest tribute
that people could give him was that he was one of the great
prophets. All these are information and hearsay.
And now Jesus asks his disciples and to you and to me, "Who do you
say I am?" The question has been central, has been crucial, to all
Christians since the time of Jesus. It's the same question that
each one of us will have to answer Jesus - "Who is Jesus to you?"
Is he a historical figure of over 2,000 years ago? Is he a teacher,
a rabbi? Is he just a great person? Is he a friend, a brother? Is
he God? Is he your No. 1 in life? Or, do you think of Jesus at
all? On our answer depends in large measure the way we order our
lives, the way we live. The response Christ awaits is not a mere
intellectual act. It involves what we believe, how we worship, the
way we live. Who, then, do I say Christ is? He is the center of
the world. Apart from him liturgy is just playacting. Communion is
merely a ritual. My whole life should echo the response of Peter to
Jesus at the lakeshore breakfast. Peter responded with all his
heart, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
That brings us to another question "What do you think of your
sisters and brothers?" This powerful passage from James shows that
it is inseparable from genuine love for Christ. "Whatever good is
it if [you] say [you] have faith but have not works? Can [your]
faith save [you]? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no
food for the day, and you say to them, `Good-bye and good luck, keep
warm and well-fed,' but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is
that? So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice, it is
thoroughly lifeless." (James 2:14-17)
These challenging words are further spelled out by God through the
prophet Micah, who proclaimed: "What does the Lord require of you?
Do justice and love steadfastly " (Micah 6:8); and on the lips of
Isaiah, "Bring no more vain offerings . Seek justice, correct
oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." (Isaiah
1:16-17) And Jesus at the synagogue in Nazareth: "The Spirit of the
Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor , to set
free the oppressed." (Luke 4:18) Have these words have any impact
on our lives? Or, is our reaction that of "What do I care?"
Do the Word and Eucharist we share transform us to be men and women
for others? Does Liturgy move our life, from Church to world, from
Christ to the crucified?
Sacrifice is suffering with a purpose. Our world has long since
learned a painful lesson: Perfect oneness with someone or something
beloved man, woman, or child, music or medicine, knowledge or art
can be achieved only in terms of self-giving, only in terms of love.
In the Christian mystery the self-giving love was summed up by Jesus
in today's Gospel: "If you want to come after me, deny yourself,
take up your cross, and follow in my steps." A big if: If you want
to come after him, if you want to be his disciple, if you love him
enough to suffer for him as willingly as he was crucified for
Our world has long since learned a painful lesson: Perfect oneness
with someone or something beloved - man, woman, or child, music or
medicine, knowledge or art - can be achieved only in terms of self-
giving, only in terms of love.
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the continued recovery of Tito Cale and Abbie
- for the personal intentions of Trinna
- for the speedy recovery of Jane Ty.
- In Thanksgiving for prayer granted to Andrew
- for the special guidance of Ma. Fatima Nona
- for the special intentions of JR
- In Thanksgiving: Fely and Ernie
- for the healing of Ernie
- for the speedy recovery of Erwin.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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