Home Community Sunday Gospel Thoughts September 12, 2021, 24th Ordinary Sunday

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    — Read the Gospel Passage slowly and prayerfully, perhaps several times over a few days.

    — Let the Story speak to you in your own life, and don’t try to force a meaning, eg, the Story has always meant only such-and-such.

    — Ask “What are you trying to say to me?” in your own life here and now, with whatever is going on in your life.

    — Be ready to be surprised.

    — If you feel comfortable please write your thoughts as a reply using the “submit” button below.

    Mk 8:27-35
    Jesus and his disciples set out
    for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
    Along the way he asked his disciples,
    “Who do people say that I am?”
    They said in reply,
    “John the Baptist, others Elijah,
    still others one of the prophets.”
    And he asked them,
    “But who do you say that I am?”
    Peter said to him in reply,
    “You are the Christ.”
    Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

    He began to teach them
    that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
    and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
    and be killed, and rise after three days.
    He spoke this openly.
    Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
    At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
    rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
    You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

    He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
    “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
    take up his cross, and follow me.
    For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
    but whoever loses his life for my sake
    and that of the gospel will save it.”


    This is a paraphrase of Meister Eckhart, a 12th century German mystic. With all that is going on it seems especially appropriate these days.

    “Ours is not the work
    of seeking You here
    or there where we

    think you might be,
    but of opening the heart’s door,

    and when we do this
    You cannot resist
    coming in, since

    our opening and Your
    entering are one: You
    knock and wait, and

    when we open we
    find that You were
    there all along and
    will not leave us.”

    And of Hafiz, a 14th century Persian mystic:

    “I wish I could show you,
    When you are lonely or in darkness,
    The Astonishing Light
    Of your own Being!”

    How would any of these play on the Teen Renewal page? IMHO there is a need for hope there, and maybe peace.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Phrogge.
    Sherri Buck

    Jesus knowing what is about to happen to Him, make this gospel especially powerful. He is discussing his imminent death, and when Peter rebukes this Jesus says: Get behind me, Satan.
    You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” when I was younger I never understood this. Why would Jesus be upset that somebody wanted to stand up for him? It made no sense. But as I grow in my faith I realize many times we do the same thing. We fight against what is to come, what God is bringing to us. Some of its good, some of its questionable, and some is what we perceive as “bad”. I say perceive because many time we want to fight for what will make “us” feel good, instead of accepting what is inevitable. This can put us in a very strenuous relationship with God because it brings us to a point where we can blame Him for the bad. I don’t believe God creates evil. I believe evil exists, and pushes us TO God, while many feel it pushes us away. I know this is a little backhanded, but think about it. Many who want to blame God for evil, probably don’t have an intimate relationship with God. But by this “bad” happening, it opens a door for people to begin communicating with Him, even if it is in anger. Having faith that what is happening is going to bring about a resolution (in this case saving mankind) is a good thing.

    Peter has such a difficult time understanding this, and while he continues to support Jesus the only way he knows how, He hasn’t accepted Jesus as the son of God who will save us. Sometimes sitting back and accepting is the best thing to do.

    This brings me to another conclusion, while Judas is considered “the bad seed” because He “betrays” Jesus, He knew it had to be done. I feel there is a lot to his back story, and maybe the betrayal of Jesus came when He accepted silver for it, but his faith was accepting the inevitable. I know this thinking is way far off what most people believe, but I think Judas had to be one of the most faithful of the apostles to do what he did. If this was asked of Peter, would it have ever happened?

    All in all, as Jesus/God/Holy Spirit are with us always, we need to be open to the “bad” as well as the good. Look for the guidance from each, deny the normal reaction oneself naturally has, reach out and open the communication with each to seek the understanding. If understanding is beyond us (many times it is) seek accepting, even if it feels like betrayal.


    Sherri, you show a great depth of wisdom and experience. You mention people not having an intimate relationship with God, which you certainly do. You also mention “thinking (that) is way far off from what most people believe”. What you write is indeed that, but it is also your experience, and nobody can argue with it.

    Jesus talks about taking up our cross and following him. Having your own experience of God can be a cross, especially when it does not square with what others expect, or when it calls us to take some sort of action or position that others don’t like. The sense of being lead can be difficult, as is the doubting. questioning, and searching that goes along with it.


    It is worthwhile to ask ourselves what/who Jesus is for us in our everyday life.

    When Jesus asks who people say that he is, he gets the standard common responses of doctrines. When he asks Peter “who do you say that I am”, Peter answers from his own experience. There is the difference between what we know from others, and what we know from our own experience, the difference between knowing about Jesus, and knowing Jesus.

    What we know from others has Jesus tied up in a series of questions and answers, nicely and specifically worded dogmas, and approved titles and names. What we know from our own experience often is tentative, hesitant, doubting, questioning, wondering, but very real nonetheless. Often the best we way can talk about what we know from experience is to use the wording of the dogmas, but also adding “yes, but”, there is more that can’t be put into words.

    We can’t come to know Jesus by thinking or logic, because Jesus is not a concept or idea, but a real experience, something like when his followers encountered him after the Resurrection. Many folks don’t get beyond Jesus as a concept or idea.

    As we come to know Jesus more and more personally in our experience, perhaps the simplest and truest response is awe.

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