Lord, grant me grace to carry my cross and follow you
24th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Sunday 12th September 2021
Is. 50:5-9; Ps. 114:1-2,3-4,5-6,8-9;
James 2:14-18; Mk. 8:27-35 (Ps Wk IV)
They say that the streets of hell are paved with good intentions. The author of James would agree: good intentions and nice words are not enough. Love is as love does – and love always is expressed in deeds. Again and again, the bible tells us that the people who are right in God’s eyes are those who see and attend to the needs and the suffering of others. Yet, there seems to be a peculiar type of Christianity that is chiefly concerned with ‘getting saved’ – as long as one is right with Jesus, the world’s needs are not of much importance. But to be right with Jesus means to be right with others and that means always responding with practical compassion. If we keep our eyes and hearts open, we will not miss the daily opportunities to express love and faith in this manner.
This is very clear in the story of Peter’s confession of faith. Peter got it right when he declared that Jesus was the Messiah, but he missed the main point. For Peter, being the Messiah was about power and glory, but Jesus had other ideas. Jesus went on to explain that his ‘status’ as Messiah meant powerlessness, suffering, and death. Not only that, Jesus warned his followers that they could expect the same.
Peter was shocked and horrified – he wanted no part of it, not for Jesus or himself. This is human thinking, and as Jesus rebuked Peter, he called upon him to think in spiritual terms. Being a disciple of Jesus is not a free pass on an easier life. But our suffering and struggle can be an instrument of transformation and grace. Everything depends on our attitude.
Lord, help me to respond to the needs of others.