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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Jas 2:1-9): My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person with shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, «Sit here, please», while you say to the poor one, «Stand there», or «Sit at my feet», have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him? But you dishonored the poor. Are not the rich oppressing you? And do they themselves not haul you off to court? Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you? However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, you shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Responsorial Psalm: 33
R/. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol his name. I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 6:64c.68c): Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 8:27-33): 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 Messiah.” 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.”

“Who do people say I am?”

Fr. Joan Pere PULIDO i Gutiérrez (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today, with the help of saint Mark's Gospel, we continue listening to God's word. A Gospel with a very clear concern: to discover who this Jesus of Nazareth may be. Through his texts, Mark has been offering us other people's reactions to Jesus: the sick ones, the disciples, the scribes and Pharisees. And today, He is directly asking us: “But who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8:29).

We, Christians, must discover our identity and prove our own faith through being good examples with our life. This duty is an urgent task to transmit a clear and understandable message to our brothers and sisters, who will find in Jesus that Word of Life bestowing meaning to what they may think, say or do. But, this witness must begin with us being totally conscious of our meeting with Jesus. John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte wrote: “Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face.”

Saint Mark, with this text, offers us the right way to contemplate Jesus. First, Jesus asks us who do people say He is; and we can answer, with the disciples: John the Baptist or Elijah, in other words an important, good and attractive person. Certainly, a good answer, but too far away from Jesus' Truth. Then, He goes on asking us: “But who do you say that I am?” It is the question of faith, of our personal implication. And we shall only find the answer in the experience of silence and praying. It is the faith path Peter followed which we should follow also.

Brothers and sisters in Christ let us come to know through prayer the liberating presence of God's love, which is present in our life. He keeps on making alliances with us with clear signs of his presence, as that rainbow appearing through the clouds promised Noah.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "Was it necessary for the Son of God to suffer for us? It was, certainly, and for two reasons that are easy to deduce: one, to remedy our sins; the other, to give us an example of how we should act" (Saint Thomas Aquinas)

  • "Christians must continuously be instructed, over the centuries, by the Lord, to make them aware that their path is not that of glory and worldly powers, but ‘the path of the cross’" (Benedict XVI)

  • "It is love ‘to the end’ (Jn 13:1) that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life (...). No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all (...)." (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 616)