Is. 50:4-9; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35
Two travelers were on the road, when a bear suddenly appeared. Both ran as fast as they could. One dashed to a tree by the side of the road, climbed up and hid in its branches. The other was not able to climb and hide. So he threw himself on the ground and pretended to be dead.
The bear came and sniffed the man lying on the ground. The man kept perfectly still and held his breath knowing that a bear will not touch a dead body. The bear took him for a corpse and went away. When the coast was clear, the traveler who hid on the tree went down and asked his companion, “What did the bear whisper to you when he put his mouth close to your ear?” The companion replied, “He told me never to travel again with a friend who deserts you at the first sight of danger!”
Our Lord once again asked His disciples of who the people say He is. There are so many answers given like John the Baptist, Elijah and other prophets. But when Jesus asked them of who is to them. Peter answered that He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, (v. 29).
This answer of Saint Peter revealed the true and sincere type of friendship he had with Jesus. He knew Him better than the people. For the people, Jesus is a great Teacher, Son of David, miracle worker, one of the prophets and the Holy One of God.
How about if Jesus asks the same question today, what will be our answer? Maybe we will answer like this: for the Iglesia ni Kristo, He is a great man but not God; for the Muslim, He is one of the great prophets; for the born-again Christians, He is their personal Lord and Savior and many more. How about you?
‘Christ’ is not a family name but a title; not, however, a title Jesus grew with, since at Nazareth no one but His mother and foster father had even an inkling of His real origin and destiny. Although ‘Christ’ was what Jesus was born to be, for most of His life the world took no notice. ‘Christ’ is a Greek term for the Hebrew word “Messiah,” and since Greek was the language of the early Church, it replaced ‘Messiah.’ Both meant “anointed” and since kings were anointed with oil, both came to mean “king.” To say, “Jesus Christ,” then is to say, “Jesus, the king.”
According to PCP-II that Jesus Christ reveals to us not only God as our Father, but who truly are not only through what He did and taught, but His whole life and person, climaxing in His Paschal Mystery through which He saved us, (no. 55). Even Catechism for Filipino Catholics also gave a very beautiful word about Jesus: “Jesus embodies God’s loving call to us and the perfect human response of a child of God. Jesus Himself is the New Covenant between God and all human persons, the Way and the authentic norm for becoming our true selves,” (no. 623). So to be Christian, one must believe that Jesus is the “Son of God,” (Acts 8:37).
But Jesus said, “the Son of Man had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and scribes and be put to death and rise three days later.” In other words, He is a suffering Messiah. It is unlikely for what His disciples’ understanding as foretold by the prophets that a Messiah would liberate their country from the Roman colonizers, the Messiah who would become the powerful ruler and king of Israel.
Is Christ a sadist, by telling them that He has to suffer? Whether we like it or not, suffering will stay with us. We are twin with this suffering but this suffering will make always near to Jesus because in this way we may be able to communicate with Him always and our minds and hearts are for Him. Also there is suffering because of sin. Without sin there is no need for suffering. Without sin there is no need for Jesus Christ to die. Our correct attitude towards suffering is this: “If you can’t help it, don’t just bear it but offer it to the Lord and tell the Lord, “Lord, hindi ko na kaya, please help me.” Fr. Gregorio Pizarro, SVD said: “make necessity a virtue.” Catechism for Filipino Catholics said: “The salvation which Christ has already won for all is not yet complete. It must be accepted, embraced and acted out in the free lives of believers today,” (no. 396).
At the end let us reflect this:
I am the Light and you do not see me
I am the Way and you do not follow me
I the Truth and you do not believe me
I am the Life and you do not search for me
I am the Master and you do not listen to me
I am the Leader and you do not obey me
I am your God and you do not pray to me
I am your greatest Friend and you do not love me.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B