24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
“Who do you say that I am?”
If Jesus should repeat this question who do you say that I am, in Nigeria today, He will be shocked at the the answers He will get. He will get answers like:
*Dum dum yom yom
*Oji 6 inches eme toothpick (one who uses 6inches nail as toothpick).
*Odighi eshi. Etc
The readings of today bring to us a message our generation detests; that Christianity or discipleship without a cross is counterfeit. Therefore a true christian must deny oneself, pickup the cross and follow Jesus. An average person of our generation wants to hear a message of prosperity and not of suffering, denying the self, carrying the cross and following Jesus. To be able to do that there must be a personal encounter with him who is followed, Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus put this question before his disciples to really ascertain if they really knew Him and the mission he was about to accomplish.
The first reading (Isaiah 50:5-9), foreshadows the coming of the Suffering Servant whose coming and obedience through suffering would restore hope and vitality to fallen and wounded humanity.
In the gospel of today (Mark 8:27-35), Jesus foretells the passion, death and Resurrection for the first time. The response and intervention of Peter to stop our Lord from going the way of suffering shows the limitation of his knowledge about the Christ he proclaimed earlier. How much do we know Jesus and how far can we go for His sake? What does it mean to deny oneself, picking up one’s cross and following Jesus?
We always have our choices and our opinions in life. Jesus wants you to deny yourself by saying “Yes” to God and saying “No” to yourself, trusting not on your ability or power but believing, trusting and relying on God. In other words, Jesus wants his followers to live a Christocentric life, a life centered on Christ. By so doing, like James in the second reading (James 2:14-18), we will be able to show our good work in faith.
As we begin a new week, we are called to surrender ourselves daily, to the will of God and proclaim like Christ did in Luke 22:44, “….not my will but your will be done.” No matter how impossible it may sound, with God all things are possible.
Have a blessed Sunday.