Thursday of the 6th Week of the Year

Mk 8:27-33

Peter’s Confession about Jesus

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

A news report can be considered complete and reliable when it answers five important questions. Who? Where? When? What? How? Seemingly, these are what the disciples of Jesus failed to consider when one day Jesus asked them these questions, “What do people say that I am?” What have you heard from the people about me? What do you know about me?

Sadly, many of their responses were not as accurate as what Jesus expected them to be. They compared him with some of the early prophets in the Old Testament, or as another John the Baptist. In other words, the disciples were not complete and accurate in their report about Him, particularly, first, on his identity as to who He was to them and secondly, his nature as to what He was to them and thirdly, the manner as to how He accomplishes His mission.

However, Peter has the courage to save them that day when he stood up and declared on behalf of all the disciples: “You are the Messiah.” He was correct on one hand, as to who Jesus was to him – a Messiah. But he was wrong on the other two crucial questions of “What” and “How.” He failed to understand that Jesus was also a “Suffering Messiah” and who will accomplish this by His passion and death on the Cross.

Peter’s idea of “Messiah” was a political leader and military warrior which was rejected by Jesus. For this, Jesus reprimanded Peter, “Get out of my sight, you Satan.  Your thoughts are men’s thoughts, not God’s.”

“Who do you say that I am?” it is a personal question that demands a personal response from us. It is true that we have read and heard many things about Jesus as a teacher, a healer, a preacher and a prophet. But do these images move and inspire us to love Him more? Knowing Jesus is not just a matter of the mind and of knowledge, we should imitate Him the way He lives, the way he loves and forgives people and the way He spends His time with people.

In other words, we can only say that we know Jesus personally once we begin to imitate and follow Him in our life. Can we speak for ourselves this way at this time in our life? (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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St. James taught simple and practical things, inspired by the wisdom of the Old Testament. For instance in today’s first reading (James 2:1-9), he calls attention to what we unwittingly do many times, that is, favoring richly dressed people over those who look ordinary. Appearance makes us discriminate.

But this seems to be given in the world these days; this is probably the reason why we also spend so much for things that will make us impressive and beautiful. We often feel that we shall be accepted more if we are “richly dressed.” Aware of this tendency, may we not succumb to the temptation that our value as persons lies on our appearance.

This does not mean, of courses, that we do not dress up cleanly and decently according to occasions. Our bodily appearance should reflect the real value that we feel as God’s beloved.

On the other hand, in dealing with others let us see deeper than the externals. Ironically, those who cannot afford expensive clothes, the poor are those  that God chose “to inherit the Kingdom which he has promised  to those who love Him.”

To discover where our real values lie, let us learn from the manager’s parting words to his pencils before leaving the pencil factory: “Pencils, remember the following: first, your value is found within you; second, always allow yourselves to be led and guided by another hand; third, bear the pain of being sharpened regularly; and last, wherever you go leave your mark behind.” (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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It was shocking news for the parishioners of Kichijoji Church that their assistant parish priest had passed away at 43 last December 2006. All they have but good things to say about him. It has been almost four months ago and yet nobody has taken over his place. Who will be the next assistant parish priest? What will he be like? Will he be just as the parishioners expect? A strong leader? A kind-hearted pastor? A zealous teacher a prophetic minister? A “wonder-worker?”

This must have been the same feeling that Peter, as well as the other disciples, had as they waited the coming of the Messiah. Each one certainly wished for the best; each with their own preferences. And yet, the person to come will definitely be just the person he is. Perhaps, He would not meet their expectations. Or He could even be way below what they longed for.

How do we deal with the same situation? Do we try to make of somebody the person we expect? Do we ignore him/her for falling short of our expectations? Do we choose not to see the imperfections? Or choose to listen to what others say, regardless of their realities about him/her? The important thing is to recognize the person and let him/her be himself/herself. Experience the person that he/she is.

It was April 2007 when I was appointed the next assistant parish priest of Kichijoji Church. (Fr. Dindo Santiago Bible Diary 2008)

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Today’s first reading (James 2:1-9) is a warning against the sin of discrimination, of judging others based on their appearance, their dress, their job, their skin color, their social status, etc. He puts it this way: “My brothers, your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ glorified must not allow favoritism.” He uses the example of how we tend to treat a rich person as opposed to a poor person. He warns us not to judge according to the standards of the world, for “Did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom he promised to those who love him?”

We should take James’ words to heart as a strong challenge to our own way of thinking and acting. He asks us, “Do you think you are better than this person because you have more money, because you are more educated, because you have better job, or better clothes, or a bigger house? Do you think you are better than the maid, the driver, the laborer, the poor homeless one? Then you are not judging by God’s standards but by human standards. Remember that Jesus came into the world as a poor man, with no home, or wealth, or fancy clothes.”

We should treat all people according to their dignity as children of the Father, as our brothers and sisters in Christ. James reminds us of what Jesus taught: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To show favoritism or to practice discrimination is not genuine Christian love!

The gospel takes us from the question of how we see others to how we see Jesus Himself. He asks the disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” After hearing their answers – which are all wrong – he proceeds to ask a more probing, personal question: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter is inspired to express very clearly the truth: “You are the Messiah!” This truth has been taught clearly by Peter and his successors ever since. Nonetheless, this question is still asked of us by Jesus today: “Who do you say that I am?” while it maybe easy for us to speak the right answer with our lips,  we need to examine ourselves to see if we truly acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, as Savior and Lord, in our hearts and minds, in our actions and words. We can “discriminate in our hearts” even against Jesus.

Keeping in mind the lesson of the first reading, in which James warns us not to judge anyone by human standards, we can turn Jesus’ questions around and ask, “Who do people say that I am? And who do I say that I am?” in other words, we can examine to see if we are also “discriminating” against ourselves. We tend to base our identity on what others think of us, and on what kind of exterior show we make. If others like us or are impressed with us, then we think well of ourselves. If things are not going so well, and others are looking down on us, we might think of ourselves as having less dignity and worth. But the deepest truth of who we are is not to be found in the opinion of others, or in our exterior appearance or actions. Our fundamental identity is that of a beloved child of God, made in His image and likeness. This is how we must learn to see ourselves and others. Our firm faith in Jesus the Messiah helps us to judge everyone, not by man’s standards, but by God’s.

Who do you say that Jesus is? Do I tend to judge others, or myself, by worldly standards? In what way? Do I treat others with the dignity they deserve as children of God? Do I show favoritism in dealing with others? (Pondering the Word THE ANAWIM WAY, January 8, 2012 to February 21, 2012 pp. 206-207)

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Thursday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time (B) Marcos 8:27-33

“Kinsa man kuno ako sumala sa mga tawo?” Kining pangutana atong matubag karon pinaagi sa mga pagtulun-an mahitungod ni Cristo nga atong makuha gikan sa mga libro ug sa atong mga magtutudlo. Pero, ang ikaduhang pangutana maoy labing mahinungdanon: “Para kaninyo, kinsa man ako?” Kining pangutana interesado dili lamang sa atong masayran kalabot ni Cristo kondili sa atong mailhan Kaniya. Ang “pagkaila ni Cristo” atong makab-ot dili pinaagi sa mga libro kondili pinaagi sa atong pagpakig-uban Kaniya diha sa pagpangalagad ug sa pag-ampo. Ang atong personal nga relasyon uban sa Ginoo maoy hagit sa ebanghelyo. Busa, sa tanan natong pagabuhaton, si Cristo ato gayong sangpiton. (Fr. Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2012/02/thursday-of-6th-week-in-ordinary-time-b.html

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 6th Week of the Year

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