Engaging the Gospel – Mark 8:27-35

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – Mark 8:27-35

Today’s dramatic Gospel speaks directly to us, beginning with Jesus’ pointed question, “But who do you say that I am?”

Some reduce Jesus to a simply human religious figure, and fail to recognize Him as God come in the flesh, as Benedict XVI comments:

Today, too, similar opinions are clearly held by the ‘people’ who have somehow or other come to know Christ, who have perhaps even made a scholarly study of Him, but have not encountered Jesus Himself in His utter uniqueness and otherness.

— Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 1, p. 292.

St. Peter’s recognition of Jesus as Messiah goes only so far, for he resists the Cross – and we do too.

The whole scene thus remains uncomfortably relevant to the present, because in the end we do in fact constantly think in terms of ‘flesh and blood,’ and not in terms of the Revelation that we are privileged to receive in faith.

— ibid., p. 299.

The Lord doesn’t mince words: we must also traverse the way of the Cross.

In order to mature, in order to make real progress on the path leading from a superficial piety into profound oneness with God’s will, man needs to be tried. Just as the juice of the grape has to ferment in order to become a fine wine, so too man needs purifications and transformations…Love is always a process involving purifications, renunciations, and painful transformations of ourselves.

— p. 162.

Question for reflection: How has my relationship with Jesus been deepened through trials?