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Gospel for Sunday, September 12: Mark 8: 27-35

XXIV Sunday B

27And on the way he questioned his disciples, saying: “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they answered him: «John the Baptist, others Elijah and others one of the prophets». 29But he replied: “And who do you say I am?” Peter answered him: “You are the Christ”. 30And he strictly ordered them not to speak about him to anyone. 31And he began to teach them that the Son of man had to suffer greatly, and be reprobated by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, then be killed and, after three days, be resurrected. 32Jesus made this speech openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But he, turning and looking at the disciples, rebuked Peter and said to him: “Get away from me, Satan! Because you do not think according to God, but according to men.” 34Calling the crowd together with his disciples, he said to them: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it”.

Mark 8: 27-35

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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Mark tries to make us see the Mystery of Christ more clearly. The second part of the Gospel of Mark opens here: we are halfway: even literally we are at the eighth chapter, while there are sixteen chapters. If in the first part we entered the mystery of the Kingdom that comes, now we enter the mystery of the Son of man.

Three times Jesus announces the need for his Passion. The disciple will also be invited to take up his cross and put himself behind the Lord, because following Christ is following the Cross. We follow the Crucifix. Our sign is not a Superman or a superhero. In the age of superheroes we continue to worship a Man who was tortured and hung on a cross. Our sign is a Crucified God.

We are in the city that bears the name of Caesar, Caesarea Philippi, in the city of an emperor who proclaimed himself god and lord, and where there was even a temple in honor of him. The emperor demanded that the cult of God should be addressed to him. Peter here states that the Messiah is instead Jesus Christ, that that poor carpenter from Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah, Son of God. The word “Cristòs” translates the Hebrew “ Mashà”, the eschatological Anointed One, that character always awaited by all Israel, in whom God would bring his promises to fulfillment.

We too today are forcefully called to proclaim to the world that only Jesus Christ is Lord. We too, in a world that is full of idols, which are power, sex, violence, career, the greats of this world, the stars of music and sport, must forcefully proclaim that the Crucified Nazarene is the the only God, creator of heaven and earth and Judge of Salvation. We must have the courage to clearly announce this: we must have the courage, in this world full of idols, to destroy the idols, with the strength of the ancient Prophets, and announce that only God is what matters to him.

These are not just “official” proclamations: it is about making everyone understand in everyday life that what matters is not career, not success, not well-being, but God. In our lifestyle, do not seek comfort , the riches, the satisfactions: remembering that what matters is instead the love of God, the love between us.

It is in our daily lives that we choose either God or idols, hours of television and a few minutes of prayer. We often have idols that we don’t realize we have. They are those things we bow to, habits, things that fill our minds, but they are not God, they are not God!

At the moment in which the great Messianic proclamation was finally made, Jesus immediately begins to explain what it means that he is the Christ, he is the Messiah. Being Messiah means suffering “pollà”, that is, many things, being repudiated and then rejected. But this revelation of a God who must suffer many things and be rejected is scandalous for Peter, who stands next to Jesus to give him the advice: “Be smart, why do you present yourself as a loser? Present yourself bright, powerful, successful, get busy. Instead you preach to us a cross: but what impression do you make in this world?”. Peter says this with affection, Peter says it in good faith: “But Lord, otherwise we will lose the disciples, we will lose the young people, we will lose the elderly: be more diplomatic: be smart!”.

Peter stands next to Jesus to give him advice: this standing next to him has a particular meaning because the disciple is the one who walks behind the master. Then Jesus puts Peter back in his place, and says to him: “Opìso mou!”, “Follow me, go after me, follow me, go back, don’t put yourself on an equal footing, go back to being a disciple”. Jesus calls Peter Satan: “Go back, Satan”. Satan means obstacle, stumbling block: “You hinder the path of salvation”. Satan is the one who hinders our path towards the Lord. Jesus was not afraid to say that the first Pope was Satan, nothing other than “Holiness”. He called him Satan: in Mark there is first and foremost the proclamation of the truth.

What are the teachings after the first announcement of the Passion?

  1. The disciple is not measured based on what he has. The follower of Christ is measured by what he loses, by what he gives.
  2. The law of Christ is to deny oneself: do we tell our children, our grandchildren, to deny themselves, the kids at the oratory, the children we teach catechism to? No, instead we do everything to make them happen: then the gym, swimming, dancing, tennis, the three-year English course, the music course… Then maybe they don’t go to church and don’t pray. We don’t teach them that true happiness is giving of oneself, it’s spending oneself for others, and we don’t teach that there is also pain in life: the important thing is to fulfill yourself. The logic of Christ is different: it is to disown oneself in order to know Jesus. To disown oneself means knowing the logic of the “Servant” and knowing nothing other than the will of God. The mission of the Leader is the same as that of the disciple; in communion with Christ, we too take up our cross, in a life of service, of gift, and of Faith even in trials and suffering.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

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