Mark 8: 27-33
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Poor DO Teach Us
As we experience Pope Francis’s ministry for the Church, my hunch is that we read today’s first reading in a fresh way. “Compassion” and “mercy” are hallmarks of the Pope’s ethos — just watch as his face comes alive during any public encounter. His gestures of mercy match Jesus’ own words and deeds; they teach us how to respond in our own outreach to others…especially those others might relegate to the margins.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. This notable Jewish command spoken from Jesus’ own lips offers an important personal reminder in the midst of winter 2014. Each of us wants to respond to the question Jesus asks his disciples in today’s gospel — who do you say that I am? Perhaps we will find the key to that response in the ways we love our neighbor as ourselves…through our deeds of mercy towards “our neighbor,” in our compassion for those who are “poor”…whomever and however we find them. And what is my response?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, open our eyes that we may see you in our brothers and sisters. Lord, open our ears that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed. Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us. Renew in us your spirit. Lord, free us and make us one.