Readings: September 16, 2012 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 50:4c-9a    James 2:14-18   Mark 8:27-35   The Message

      Isaiah 50:4c-9a

The Master, God, opened my ears, and I didn’t go back to sleep, didn’t pull the covers back over my head.

I followed orders, stood there and took it while they beat me, held steady while they pulled out my beard, didn’t dodge their insults, faced them as they spit in my face.

And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me, so I’m not disgraced.

Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I’ll never regret this. My champion is right here. Let’s take our stand together!

Who dares bring suit against me? Let him try!

Look! The Master, God, is right here. Who would dare call me guilty?

© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

James 2:14-18

      Faith in Action

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Mark 8:27-35

      The Messiah

Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?”

“Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”

Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.

But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter.

“Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; /I/ am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?     © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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