Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time- Cycle B
September 13, 2015
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First Reading: Isaiah 50:5-9a
Second Reading: James 2:14-18Gospel Reading: Mark 8:27-35
- Since last Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus has fed four thousand people with just seven loaves of bread and a few fishes (Mark 8:1-21), and healed a blind man (vv 22-26). He has gone from the Gentile area of the Decapolis (Mark 7:31), to Dalmanutha, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, where he is confronted by the Pharisees (Mark 8:10-13), then to Bethsaida, on the north shore of that same sea (Mark 8:22).
- This Sunday’s Gospel reading (a longer version of which is found in Mt 16:13-28), finds Jesus and his disciples at the town of Caesarea Philippi, located at the headwaters of the Jordan River. Site of the ancient city of Paneas, it was once home to a temple built to the pagan deity Pan (god of sheep and shepherds), carved into a massive rock wall.
- In Mark’s gospel, this passage serves as a key point. It relates Jesus’ clear self-revelation of himself as the long awaited Messiah, and his disciple’s first recognition of that fact. It also introduces the necessity of Jesus being a suffering Messiah, and for his disciples to accept suffering for the sake of his name (Col 1:24, Rom 8:17). When Jesus speaks of his cross (v 34), the graphic image of the crucifixion would hardly need to be explained to his disciples.
- Thus far, what answers have been given to Jesus’ poll (v. 27; see 3:21-22; 4:41; 6:3, 14-15)?
- How and why does the tone of Mark’s Gospel change after Peter’s declaration?
- What title does Jesus take on, and why (see Daniel 7:13-14)? What four things does he prophesy about the “Son of Man”?
- Why would Jesus rebuke Peter upon seeing his (Jesus’) disciples (v. 33)? How might your attitudes toward the ways that God acts affect others?
- In your experience, how can a person who wants to save his life actually lose it? How can a person who loses his life for the sake of Jesus actually save it? What do the verbs “saving” and “losing” mean in these paradoxes?
- Where does Jesus’ way conflict with your way? What do you stand to lose by following Jesus? What do you stand to gain?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 557, 572, 649, 2544
How hard and painful does this appear! The Lord has required that “whoever will come after him must deny himself.” But what He commands is neither hard nor painful when He himself helps us in such a way so that the very thing He requires may be accomplished…For whatever seems hard in what is enjoined, love makes easy. –St. Augustine
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