The Crucified Messiah
Sep 13, 2018
Gospel Reflection, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 50: 4c-9a; Romans 14: 7-9 James 2: 14-18; Mark 8: 27-35
The Crucified Messiah
Saint Mark has one primary aim in his gospel: bringing his hearers and readers to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. And yet, there are two parts. At the end of the first, in today’s gospel reading, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed, the Christ. At the end of the second, the Roman centurion confesses, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15:39).
The question Jesus asks, “Who do people say that I am?” was not entirely unexpected. Jesus’ disciples had great hope that Jesus was the Messiah and that he would bring liberation, peace on earth and that all would enjoy prosperity. But the path leading up to the dual confession of Jesus as the Messiah and as the Son of God, led through many trials and finally to the Cross.
Many thought of him as a prophet and that was comforting because it was a lot easier to regard him as one of the great prophets in history like, Buddha, Moses and Muhammad. But the question is more personal, “Who do you say that I am?” When it becomes personal for us and when we really come close to all of his miracles, all of his teachings, and finally his death on the cross in willing obedience to the Father out of love poured out for us, we recognize him as our personal savior.
Do we recognize him this way this day? Does it really cross our mind? Do we know that he lives with us, walks with us, and breathes with us and wants to lead us at each moment? Does it have a personal impact on our day?
Peter gives his answer concisely, “You are the Messiah, the Christ.” It is an expression of hope – hope for the one he and others had longed for to come for generations. But then Jesus talks quite openly about his suffering. Peter does not understand. But when we willingly accept Jesus’ path and begin to walk it with him, we discover the freeing force of the powerlessness of love. Not even death can conquer it and have the last word. Let us say together, “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God!” Let us allow this one to come to us personally each day at each moment.