by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Mark 8: 27-33
In the first sentence of today's reading we read "And Jesus went out, and his disciples into the towns of Caesarea." Caesarea was a grand city of those days, named after the ruler Caesar Augustus by the then ruler Herod the great. In Christian history, Caesarea has got a significant place. Pontius Pilate lived in Caesarea at the time of our Lord. A plaque with the inscription of the words, 'TIBERIVM' and 'TIVS PILATUS' was excavated from here during 1959-63, which is the only archeological evidence of the existence of Pontius Pilate during the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word Tiberivm refers to the Emperor Tiberius, in whose name the Sea of Galilee is named.
When our Lord and the Apostles entered the town, our Lord asked them what the public is telling about their Master. They answered the different versions like, John the Baptist, a Prophet, Elias etc. Immediately our Lord asked them "who am I in your reading or understanding". St. Peter was blessed to answer aptly, "You are the Christ." St. Matthew narrates the incident as "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (St. Matthew 16:16) When St. Peter was introduced to Lord Jesus by his own brother St. Andrew. But before introduction, he told St. Peter "we have found the Messiah which is interpreted the Christ" (St. John 1:41) The Samaritans had already confessed: "We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (St. John 4:42) In St. John 6:42, we find another confession of St. Peter at another occasion, "We believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God". Martha, sister of Lazarus also confessed "Yea Lord I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world" (St. John 11:27)
In verse 30 our Lord forbids them to tell other men of him. We should not forget the fact that our Lord is still asking each and every one of us, "My beloved child, who am I for you." Can we all say that we all are hearing the question every time and answering Him properly? Are we not busy not to hear his question? Do we have time to answer Him properly, even if we might hear the question? In our opinion, is He not the one who was crucified by the Jews for not being diplomat like every one of us? When I was watching a CD of a Holy Land pilgrimage prior to it's editing, I heard the conversation of our people. "See how beautiful is that lady and the child in her hand". I am not telling this to blame the one who said it. I want to bring to your attention that we don't keep up a firm and solid relation with our Savior. What answer we could give our Lord and Savior? Every day at least in the morning and evening, we must confess "Oh Lord Jesus, you are my Lord and God". This act must be sincere and honest. We must repeat this as many times as we could, with the additional prayer, Kurie-laison, meaning, Lord has mercy upon us. Unless and until we might confess this faith in Him, there is no meaning in the recitation "thy will be done as it is in heaven".
In verse 31 we find our Lord teaching His disciples about the passion and sufferings He had to take including the death on the cross and resurrection on the third day. In verse 32 we find St. Peter rebuking against our Lord. Our Lord immediately rebuked St. Peter and said you are not telling Godly things but human matters. In Romans 8:7 we read, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be." In 1 Corinthians 2: 14 we read, "But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." St. Peter exhorts us "For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. That he has no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
Let us give heed to St. Paul and St. Peter. Let us try to give prime importance for the will of God in the rest of our lives than the worldly pleasures and interests.
Restoring Simon Peter
by Rev. Fr. George T, Ireland
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