First Reading: From the Book of Zechariah 12:10-11
Vrs10 But over the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem I shall pour out a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look to me. They will mourn for the one whom they have pierced as though for an only child, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child.
Vrs11 When that day comes, the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad Rimmon in the Plain of Megiddo.
Responsorial Psalm: From Psalms 62:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Vrs2 he alone is my rock, my safety, my stronghold so that I stand unshaken.
Vrs3 How much longer will you set on a victim, all together, intent on murder, like a rampart already leaning over, a wall already damaged?
Vrs4 Trickery is their only plan, deception their only pleasure, with lies on their lips they pronounce a blessing, with a curse in their hearts.
Vrs5 Rest in God alone, my soul! He is the source of my hope.
Vrs6 He alone is my rock, my safety, my stronghold, so that I stand unwavering.
Vrs7 In God is my safety and my glory, the rock of my strength. In God is my refuge;
Vrs8 trust in him, you people, at all times. Pour out your hearts to him, God is a refuge for us.
Vrs9 Ordinary people are a mere puff of wind, important people a delusion; set both on the scales together, and they are lighter than a puff of wind.
Gospel Reading: From the Gospel Account of Saint Luke 9:18-24
Vrs18 Now it happened that he was praying alone, and his disciples came to him and he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’
Vrs19 And they answered, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; others again one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’
Vrs20 ‘But you,’ he said to them, ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God,’ he said.
Vrs21 But he gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone.
Vrs22 He said, ‘The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Vrs23 Then, speaking to all, he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.
Vrs24 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.
Second Reading: From the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 3:26-29
Vrs26 for all of you are the children of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus,
Vrs27 since every one of you that has been baptised has been clothed in Christ.
Vrs28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female — for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Vrs29 And simply by being Christ’s, you are that progeny of Abraham, the heirs named in the promise.
Theme: Who do you say that Jesus is?
Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed that Jesus was truly the “Christ of God” – “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God. Through the “eyes of faith” Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One,consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for “Christ” in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” – both words literally mean the Anointed One.
Jesus begins to explain the mission he was sent to accomplish
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? They were, after all, appointed to proclaim the good news to everyone. Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the reason for this silence:
God’s Anointed Son must suffer and die to atone for our sins
Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God’s work of redemption might be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard this word. How different are God’s thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). It was through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross that Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.
We, too, have a share in the mission and victory of Jesus Christ
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and the power to live the gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?
“Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.”