February 20, 2014 – Thursday in the 6th Week of the Church Year
Two of the three “Fatima Children.”
Mark 8:27-33 "Who do you say that I Am?"
“Jesus rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings.’” (Mark 8:33)
Imagine? This is Jesus speaking to the future leader of the Christian Community! Yesterday’s scripture from the letter of James used the image of looking in a mirror at our image and then forgetting what we look like. This statement of Jesus reminds us that our free will always has the possibility of our making the wrong choice.
It’s true that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Even Adam and Eve were created like that and look what happened to them? So, there’s a need for us to “renew our hearts and minds – on a daily basis – to make sure they reflect our true image. That’s why St. Peter is a good character for us to look at. He’s the one who will say, “I will never desert you – even if others do. That won’t happen to me!” (paraphrase of Mark 14:30) Then, in the High Priest’s garden, he keeps to the “three-times theme” and says he doesn’t even know Jesus. Fear has a way of clouding our minds and that’s why we must strive to have that perfect love that casts out all fear.
Try to put yourself into this Gospel scene: you’ve just begun to follow this charismatic leader who seems to have everything going for him and you see yourself “on the road to glory!” Then, all of a sudden He’s talking about suffering, rejection, death and resurrection! It doesn’t make any sense even though we’ve heard him talk about ”the seed which must fall to the ground and die…”
The advantage that we have – because we’re able to look at the entire story – gives us an edge that the disciples didn’t have all at once. But we still have to process that to make it really work. In the Letter from James which is “post-resurrectional” the members of the early Church still have to be reminded of their calling to “to love your neighbor as yourself.” The beauty of our Holy Scriptures is that they are all things to all people and, in a sense, timeless. We can look at them from an historical point but, also, have to see them speaking directly to us here and now.
We are still the poor who cry out to the Lord and we look to Him that we may be radiant with joy. (Psalm 34:6) So, what can we say is our “bottom line” for today? We’ve seen the Lord. We’re walking with Him. But even though we try to stay as close to Him as possible we still stumble and fall. It won’t be long before we begin our annual “Lenten Journey” which allows us to hear and enter into the full life of Christ. Today’s Responsorial Psalm needs to be our prayer that delivers us from all our fears. We have to be “poor in spirit” if we want the Lord to hear our cry. Amen!
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