Scripture Lesson: Mark 8:27-33
Meditation: “. . . the Son of Man must suffer greatly. . .”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And then, “But who do you say that I am?”
When we hear Peter answer for the disciples that Jesus is “the Christ,” that sounds like the end of the story. But Jesus, in effect, tells them that they’s only gotten halfway. “The Son of Many must suffer greatly. . . .”
In some ways, you could envision this scene in terms of people in a special relationship. As things progress, one or the other may say something like, “Before we go any further, there’s something you need to know. . . .” It’s the opening to a deeper revelation about the person, but a truth that could complicate things. If that revelations is accepted, this moment becomes a turning point in the relationship. From then on, the story that was revealed will be a shared story, a place of intimate communion.
Today people are rather free in giving their opinions about who Jesus is. Ancient holy man. Jewish peasant who didn’t mean for any of this history-changing stuff to happen. Prophet. Myth. Bodhisattva. Even “highly evolved consciousness” (really!) It’s just as challenging now as it was two thousand years ago to accept the folly of the cross (see I Cor. 1:18), and to accept what being “the Christ” really means. That’s because (as Peter intuited when he tried to talk that folly out of Jesus) it means accepting our own share in the sufferings of Christ and the glory to be revealed (see 1 Peter 4:13).
Lord Jesus, my immediate reaction to your revelation tends to be just like Peter’s. Thinking on the purely practical level, I cannot see how suffering and rejection could be part of the picture of salvation. But when suffering does come into my life, it is so consoling to realize that you know from the inside what it is like. For a little while, you were “made lower than the angels. . . . For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:9-10).
He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (see Isaiah 53:4-5).
Adapted from “Ordinary Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections,” (C) 2011, Daughters of St. Paul.