Sunday, September 13, 2015
Year B – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
In Saint Mark’s gospel, Jesus is always concerned that his followers get the whole picture: to accept his divinity and experience his divine power; to embrace the inevitability of his crucifixion; hope in his resurrection and eternal kingdom; and live a life of ministry empowered by the Holy Spirit.
At this point in the Gospels, The apostles had been following Jesus for over two-and-a-half years. They had witnessed countless miracles, listened to his teachings, and walked with him throughout the land of Israel. Could they consider any other possible response to today’s question?
The Harmony of the Gospels provides us a bit more meat as we can see Matthew’s account of this same passage.
A month or so before Jesus had commissioned twelve of his disciples to be Apostles (section 70b). His ministry to Jew and Gentile alike was expanding daily, as was the scorn from most of the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Herodians. The opposition did not damper Jesus’ resolve, though he felt both the pain of human rejection and divine sorrow for the gift of grace which they could not accept. Leaving Capernaum for a few weeks, Jesus and the Apostles had recently returned from a brief tour of ministry in Tyre, Sidon, Decopolis, and Bethsaida. During that journey Jesus ministered to a Syrophoenician woman, delivered her daughter from a demon, healed many from throughout Tyre and Sidon, fed four thousand in Decopolis, and restored sight to a blind man in Bethsaida.
Faith transforms our identity, and shapes our way of living.
There may be profound consequences,
but could they, or would you choose any other path?
As Jesus returned to the region of Galilee nothing much had changed in the minds of the religious leaders. They asked for more signs to ascertain if he was of God or the Devil –as if the events of the past two years and word of all the recent miracles in the north was not enough.
Yes, the time had come for the people to recon themselves with the facts, his love, and grace and simply answer the question: “Who do you say that I am?”