Faith In Jesus? Face Your Cross!

Weekly Missionary Reflection
24th Week in Ordinary Time, 12 September 2021

Isa. 50:5-9a; Ps. 116:1-2,3-4,5-6,8-9; Jam. 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35

It was half semester exam for “The Twelve”! Their journey with Jesus had been half way. They had been living with Him permanently. They had listened and witnessed a lot: healing, casting out demon, authoritative teaching, mass feeding, etc. It’s the time for the Teacher to get a little feed-back, according to your survey: “Who am I?” What is “public opinion” about Jesus’ identity? His disciples reported: Jesus is one of the great prophets, like Elijah and John the Baptist. The opinion of “the ordinary people” was very positive, compared to the opinion of the scribes who said Jesus as “having a demon” (3:22). If Messiah (Christ) election was conducted, Jesus would definitely need only one round to win!

However, it is just a “common opinion”. How about the perception of the main group? Did His “teammate” have another opinion? Jesus would like to dig personal opinion of His twelve disciples who had been His “core circle” all the time! As usual, Peter showed up as the spokesman of the main group, firmly proclaimed: “You are the Messiah!” For them, Jesus is not only a prophet, but He is the Christ, the anointed one by God to initiate and present the era of salvation! The confession of Peter and his friends were according to what they had witnessed all the time: Jesus fits perfectly into David’s ideal king-shepherd. He is always ready to protect the people, to guide them through teachings, fight for their prosperity through healings, casting out demons and feeding.

For Jesus, the title of Messiah is truly true, but not enough. It is only one side of His being Messiah. He is the Messiah/Chris who triumphs through rejection and suffering! It is this combination of suffering and glory which He teaches His disciples and crowd. Therefore, Jesus abandons the title of Messiah which is easily misunderstood. He prefers the “Son of Man” title, that combines the aspect of suffering (as experienced by the prophet Ezekiel) and glory (as prophesied in Daniel 7) in a balanced way.

It is the aspect of rejection and suffering that made Peter and his friends fail the exam! From the first disciples till now, cross has become a stumbling block and foolishness. Peter just acted out our basic human tendency that always tried to resist suffering and death. Believing in the glorious Christ, in a glorious Church, in magnificent buildings, has been always a dream and program. Whereas history always proves: our religion will definitely decline every time we make friend with authorities, wallow in wealth and pursue the glory. Christianity will become fragile and lose its identity every time it rejects and avoids the cross. We have to live in this world without being worldly or resembling the world. We have to think of human matters without thinking like human. Believing in Jesus means be ready to be involved in His mission, that will definitely face the cross and rejection. Otherwise, Jesus’ rebuking on Peter will also prevail on you and me today: “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Eco-fiendly life style: Let us pray to be encouraged to make brave decision for eco-friendly and simple life style, to rejoice with the young people who are boldly committed to this. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Those depressed by economic problems: May those depressed by economic problems be able to find new business that can be a new source of income. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Please direct our life history to as the life history of St. Joseph whom You have guided to unite with his ancestors, as told in the Bible. We pray…

Amen

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