TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Also Read: Mass Readings for 12 September 2021
First Reading: Isaiah 50: 5-9a
Wait on the Lord’s Vindication
The Lord has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. (5)
How many times have we heard his voice and then turned away?
The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. (7)
Have we faced challenges before and come through unscathed more or less? Do we not have instances in our lives, when we know for sure; that it was the Lord’s doing? Then in these grey times of distress, we must set our faces like flint and know that the Lord is just around the corner. Flint is a very hard, dark rock, and in the bible, it is used figuratively to express firmness when faced with adversities. This passage foretells Christ’s suffering and describes his firmness in fulfilling his mission on the way to Calvary.
It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them. (9)
In the midst of our distress, do we find mockers or accusers on the way? Well, their fate is set out already, as we can see from the verses above! What more evidence or guarantee do we need that the Lord GOD is by our side, right now in the midst of our turmoil.
Therefore, let us stand up and walk the path with our faces set in flint.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 116: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my supplications. (1)
We might feel greatly obligated to any human being here on earth, when they may have saved us from any grave danger. But how much more then, must we love and serve The Lord, for his great mercies on us!
For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. (8)
I walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. (9)
Second Reading: James 2: 14-18
Show your faith by your works!
So faith by itself, if it has no works is dead. (17)
“…I by my works will show you my faith.”(18)
James, being one of the three apostles who witnessed Christ’s Transfiguration, (Mark 9:2) first hand; speaks directly about how faith must be evidenced in actions. It is the works of our hands, that portray our faith. Therefore, even the little things done with the intention of pleasing GOD; are a testimony of our faith.
Gospel: Mark 8: 27-35
The Peace of the Cross
“Who do people say that I am?” (27)
He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” (29)
Christ questions us today, just as He did that day – “But who do you say that I am?” We hear the outsiders, the nay-sayers, the critics, some posh, some academics, some theorists et al; making claims about God, Christ, and/or religion. So then, how do we respond? Do we let our minds be contaminated or swayed by the so-called intellectuals?
We are not the outsiders, we are the ones with whom Christ sups daily. He lives in us and shares our trials daily. We have communion and intimacy with the Lord daily. Then, we must be able to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah – The One, True, and Only Living God!
Do we hear echoes in our hearts at times: “You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” True, we are human and we will have to deal with human things daily. But is our mindset on ‘human things’! Peter is rebuked for not accepting that Christ should suffer! Being human involves suffering when divinity takes precedence!
Hence, are we struggling Brethren? If we live by faith and work by faith, as James said; we are living truly Christian lives. Then, rejoice and take courage, we are on the right path! He bears our cross along with us, Has No Fear!
Peace of the Lord with you all! Amen!