Posted by: RAM | September 12, 2015

Sunday (September 13): “Whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 131

First Reading: Isaiah 50:5-9
Psalms 116:1-6, 8-9
 I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
Second Reading: James 2:14-18
Gospel: Mark 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091315.cfm

Reflection: Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed,  “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29) – “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God.

Through the “eyes of faith” Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One (the Messiah and Christ), consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for “Christ” in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” – both words literally mean the Anointed One.

Jesus begins to explain the mission he was sent to accomplish 
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the reason for this silence:

There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father. He utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a seasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion. (Commentary on LukeHomily 49)

God’s Anointed Son must suffer and die to atone for our sins
Peter’s faith was sorely tested when Jesus explained that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God’s work of redemption may be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard these words! How different are God’s thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8)! It was through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross that Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.

The cost of discipleship – following Christ
The Lord Jesus explained to all who would listen what it would personally cost them to follow him as their Lord and Messiah (Mark 8:34) – it would cost them everything, even their very lives! How can anyone make such a demand? God the Father freely gave us his Son, the Lord Jesus, to save us from sin and death – not just physical death but spiritual death as well. When we exchange our life for his we receive far more than we give up. We receive pardon, peace, and the abundant life of God’s kingdom now, and the promise of the resurrection and unending life with God in the age to come.

When we discover the treasure of God’s kingdom – God himself – we gladly give up all that we have in exchange for the life of joy and happiness God offers us. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death.

We, too, have a share in the mission and victory of Jesus Christ
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his dying and rising again on the third day.

The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit gives usfaith to personally know and experience the love of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit gives us the  power and help we need to follow Jesus daily and live the Gospel faithfully. The Holy Spirit fills us with boldness, confidence, and courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Do you believe that Jesus has power to change and transform your life through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit? Who do you say that Jesus is for you?

“Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong and help me to live in the victory of the cross by rejecting sin and by accepting your will.”  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep13.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day:  St. John Chrysostom (d. 407)

The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means “golden-mouthed”) from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.

If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.

His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam’s fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.

Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel (1 Kings 9:1—21:23)  and impious Herodias (Mark 6:17-29) were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1137&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  RAM Follow tweets by @TheOneKin  @Pontifex @CardinalChito

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