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Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

11 September 2021

Reflecting on Mark 8: 27-35

I take such strength from Peter. He got it right about half the time. But he REALLY got it right at the beginning of today’s gospel, when he confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. And then, just a few verses later, he admonished Jesus that OF COURSE he wouldn’t suffer and die. That’s not how Messiahs work!

And just like that he was back at the end of the line, “getting behind” Jesus instead of walking with him in the front. Like so many who encountered Jesus in Mark’s gospel, Peter took his place with those who were following Jesus on the Way.

When Jesus announced that those who followed him would have crosses as well, I would have headed for the hills. Nobody told me that the price of admission to the kingdom involves suffering! Where is the escape clause in this contract?

Way back when we were baptized, we (or our parents and Godparents), renounced Satan and all his empty promises. And one of those empty promises, probably the most seductive of all, is that there are ways to get through life without suffering.

Turn these stones to bread! Satan tempted a hungry Jesus. Throw yourself down from the Temple parapet and let the angels catch you! a mocking Satan invited Jesus to break the laws of nature.

God bless St. Peter. He was confused, and afraid. But still he followed Jesus. Years later, utterly joyous to meet his Risen Lord, he invited his executioners to crucify him upside down. He felt unworthy to die in the same posture as his Christ. And he knew that the gates of heaven were reaching down to receive him.

What crosses in your life do you take up every day?

Kathy McGovern ©2021

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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