Sunday, September 16, 2018
24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
September 16, 2018 - 24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Cycle B. Green.
Is 50: 5 - 9a / Jas 2: 14- 18 / Mk 8: 27- 35
[Bicolandia: Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia]
2ND READING: Jas 2: 14- 18
What good is it, my brothers and sisters to profess faith without showing works? If a brother or a sister is in need of clothes or food and one of you says, "May things go well for you; be warm and be satisfied," without attending to their material needs, what good is that? So it is for faith without deeds: it is totally dead.
Say to whoever challenges you, "You have faith and I have good deeds; show me your faith apart from actions and I, for my part, will show you my faith in the way I act."
GOSPEL READING: Mk 8: 27- 35
Jesus set out with his disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" And they told him, "Some say you are John the Baptist; others say you are Elijah or one of the prophets.
Then Jesus asked them, "But you, who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah." And he ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and after three days rise again. Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus turning around, and looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter saying, "Get behind me Satan! You are thinking not as God does but as people do."
Then Jesus called the people and his disciples and said, "If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; and if you lose your life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it."
The questions that Jesus posed to his disciples in today's Gospel reading are questions that can be repeated over and over again. The first question, "Who do people say Jesus is?" For millions of people in our own day Jesus is an unknown figure. Of our world's total population of more than seven billion, only about 32% are Christians who recognize Jesus as truly divine. Islam which represents about 23% of the world's population sees Jesus as a prophet, but as not divine.
The second question, "Who do you, my disciples, say that I am?" In the Gospel passage we hear Peter boldly saying that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed One. And the belief of Peter, a belief given by grace, is what we, who are Christians, claim to be also our belief.
We might ask a third question of ourselves, "How do we live the faith we profess? How do we live our faith as believers in Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One?" The second reading of today's liturgy from the Letter of James gives the answer to that question: We live our faith by the way we love and live as Jesus loved and lived. We live our faith by caring for our needy brothers and sisters. Faith without the works and deeds demanded by faith is not a living faith but a dead faith. Which is why the Church in our time has insisted that action for social justice is an integral element of our faith life.
Something else to ponder: The command that Jesus gave to his apostles at his ascension to go into the world and "make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19) is a command for us to consider addressed to each one of us. Perhaps by living our faith as the Letter of James urges we can draw more men and women into Christ's discipleship. Pope Francis would suggest that a faith lived with conviction and joy can be an excellent means of "making" more disciples today..
Have a good day!
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