To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, February 23, 2019 click HERE
Friday, 22 February 2019
Saturday, February 23, 2019 - If you were on the mountain with Jesus, what would your response to the Transfiguration be? Why?
To read the texts click on the texts: Heb 11:1-7; Mk 9:2-13
The transfiguration is an event, which appears in all the Synoptic Gospels, but each narrates it differently. In Mark, it follows after the instructions that Jesus gives to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi and after six days. The event is a confirmation by God of the fact that Jesus is indeed Messiah, beloved Son. Most think that the reason for the choice of Elijah and Moses is that the Jews considered them as being alive in the presence of God. Jesus is superior even to these figures.
In Mk the order is Elijah and Moses. In Matthew, the order is Moses and Elijah (so Luke) to emphasize the two personalities of the OT who received revelation on Mount Sinai (Ex 19:33-34; 1 Kgs 19:9-13) and personify the Law and the prophets. While in Mt Jesus is the New Moses and Luke emphasizes the approaching passion, Mark sees in the transfiguration the glorious manifestation of the hidden Messiah. Briefly the disciples experience the heavenly quality of Jesus. Jesus is no less Messiah when his Messianic glory is hidden in the passion, than he is at the Transfiguration.
Elijah was regarded as the prophet who would come before the Lord (Malachi 3:24-25; 4:5) as his messenger. Jesus’ reply in John suggests that Elijah has indeed come in John the Baptist is an indication that he is the Lord.
There are times in our lives when everything goes according to plan and at those times it is easy to see that God is on our side. However, when we are faced with trials and when things do not work out, as we want them to, then the transfiguration is a reminder to us that even when carrying our cross we are still beloved by God.
Saturday, February 23, 2019 - Heb 11:1-7; Mk 9:2-13
Thursday, 21 February 2019
To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, February 22, 2019 The Chair of St. Peter click HERE
Friday, February 22, 2019 - The Chair of St. Peter - If Jesus were to ask you the question he asked the disciples, what would your response be?
To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Pet 5:1-4; Mt 16:13-19
The Chair of St. Peter is a feast which celebrates the Lord’s choice of Peter to be the servant-leader of the Church. The choice of Peter is indicative of what the Church is. On the one hand Peter was over zealous, brash, impulsive, spontaneous and ready to die for the Lord, while on the other he would deny the Lord and run away when trouble arose. The Church as a whole has been like Peter. Yet, this is whom the Lord chooses and continues to choose, broken men and women called to heal a broken world.
The Gospel text chosen for the feast is popularly known as “Peter’s Confession”. The question of Jesus concerning his identity is not because he wanted to be informed about people’s opinion of him, but to draw a contrast between people’s answers and the answer of the disciples. Matthew is the only evangelist who adds Jeremiah to the answers of the people. Some think that Matthew has done so because of Jeremiah’s association with the fall of Jerusalem. Others think that Jeremiah is mentioned because of his prophecy of the new covenant.
After hearing through the disciples what the people have to say about his identity, Jesus asks the disciples the same question. The “you” is plural and therefore addressed to all disciples. It is also emphatic. Simon Peter answers on behalf of the group. Matthew adds “the Son of the living God” to Mark’s “Christ”. Only in Matthew does Jesus respond directly to Peter. Peter is not blessed because of a personal achievement, but because of the gift he received from God. Jesus names Peter as rock, the one who holds the keys and the one who binds and looses. Rock here stands for foundation, and though Peter is the foundation, Jesus is the builder. The holder of keys was one who had authority to teach and the one who binds and looses is the one who had authority to interpret authoritatively. The reason for ordering them to tell no one is to reinforce the idea that the community founded by Jesus is distinct from Israel who rejected Jesus.
The feast of today invites us to reflect on two aspects in the Church. The first of these is that authority in the Church does not mean domination but always service. The model of this service is Jesus and it is him that we must imitate. The second is that even as we are broken ourselves and sinners, we are called to heal the world. This is because like in Peter’s case so in ours, it was not his merit that made him the leader of the Church, it was the grace of God which worked in him despite his sin.
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 1 Pet 5:1-4; Mt 16:13-19
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - When troubles come your way, do you ask God to remove them or do you pray for the strength to face them squarely?
To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 9:1-13; Mk 8:27-33
The story that forms part of our text for today (8:27-30) is titled by many as “Peter’s Confession”. The place where Jesus asks his disciples questions about his identity is termed by Mark as “the villages of Caesarea Philippi” which Matthew corrects to “the region of Caesarea Philippi” (Mt 16:13).
The first question of Jesus concerns the opinion of people or the common opinion. The views expressed are already in 6:14-16, namely: John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. This obviously is an inadequate description of who Jesus really is, and this is why the disciples as a group are asked about Jesus’ identity.
Peter replies on behalf of the group that Jesus is the Messiah or Christ.
In Mark, we come across yet again the command to silence after this confession, and concerns not making known that Jesus is the Messiah. The reason for this seems to be that since the confession is made before the passion, it will not have taken into account that aspect of the life of Jesus. This is why immediately after the command to silence Mark has the first of three passion and resurrection predictions (8:31). For the first time Mark informs us that Jesus “said all this quite openly” (8:32). On hearing Jesus speak about his suffering, death and resurrection, Peter who had earlier confessed that Jesus was Messiah begins to rebuke Jesus. The meaning is that Peter thinks that Jesus is insane and needs to be exorcised of the demon that has possessed him. Jesus in turn calls Peter, Satan. This is because in his confession, Peter had not included the suffering and death of the Messiah. Jesus will remain obedient to God even if it means laying down his life in total surrender and no one can come in the way of that obedience.
It is not easy for us to accept that suffering is a part of life itself and that there will be times when we are tested and tried. However, as Christians we must also note that suffering can never be the end and that since God wants only what is good for us we are loved unconditionally even in our suffering.