6th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Gen 9:1-13
God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat. For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from one man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life. If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God has man been made. Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.” God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
Gospel: Mk 8:27-33
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 Christ.” 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.”
WHO IS JESUS TO YOU? At the end of an academic year, a man was seen crying and people inquired from him what the matter was. He told them outrightly that it would have been better for his son who did very well in school, to “get some sense” in his mind, rather than passing well in the school but without the common sense to accomplish simple home tasks. Today, in the Gospel, Peter got the right answer but did nt fully understand the implications. Jesus asks us the same question when among the poor, the needy, the sick and the homeless. Often we get the right answer but fail in the implimentation. Let us learn patiently from our Master lest we try to oppose Jesus. We do not want to face rebuke from Jesus telling us, “Get behind me, Satan…” We cannot be obstacles like Peter tried. We should never oppose God’s plan and His good deeds for the sake of the Kingdom.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to follow you in all humility never be an obstacle to your teachings. Amen.
YOU ARE THE CHRIST: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ.” But when Jesus predicts that he would be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and scribes and the scribes Peter begins to ‘rebuke’ Jesus. To the same Peter to whom, according to the version of Matthew Jesus said, when he answered the question, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my heavenly Father” now he says, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do”. For Peter it was impossible to think about a suffering Messiah. This is one of the most basic temptations that the followers of Christ face as individuals, Christian communities and as an entire Church. How can we think of God, “not as God does but as human beings do”. Am I among those seeking and trying to follow a risen Christ who has not undergone suffering and death?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to understand the salvific value of suffering and joyfully follow you.
REKINDLE YOUR FAITH IN THE LORD: When Jesus asks, ” Who do people say that I am?” He is neither asking for a report card of his performance, nor is he looking for a certificate of appreciation. He is rather helping his disciples figure out who their Master is. The apostles rightly discover Him as the Messiah, the Anointed one. While this is correct, Jesus adds that He is also headed for death on the cross. At this difficult reality, Jesus is stressing that if you want to be a Christian, you must deny yourself and take up the cross each day and follow Him (Lk 9: 23). It is to this realization that he wishes to guide all of us. This is the challenge that is before us today; to be in the world and display with our lives that we do not belong to the world. We may not be in control of what happens to us, but can and should choose to respond in Christ-like ways. Let our lips say, “Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps 51:11).
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: Christian journey is a joyous way illuminated by the graciousness of the Savior of the world. Along that way, Jesus asks a very important question of his disciples. “Who do you say that I am?” is the same question asked of every disciple in every age. The disciples list a whole series of labels that people have applied to Jesus. And these names reveal all the different expectations held about him. When Jesus asks his disciples of their perception of him, he asks what people are saying about him. Probably taken aback by the question, the disciples dredge their memories for overheard remarks, snatches of shared conversation, opinions circulating in the fishing towns of the lake area. The replies of the disciples are varied, as are those of each of us today when Jesus, through someone else’s lips, asks us the same question, and with increasing frequency and intensity. In today’s Gospel, Jesus will be the Messiah only when he lays down his life for others. And I will be like Jesus only when I lay down my life for others. Jesus’ identity is found in doing the will of God!