Welcoming the Holy

Here we invite you to take time for yourself in personal prayer. The following spiritual reflection offers words and images which we hope will evoke for you an experience of God. 


 

Opening Prayer

Creator God, look upon us this day that we may feel the working of Your mercy. Give peace to those who follow Your way. Grant that we may take up our cross daily in serving You in one another with all our heart. Through Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
 

 Reading

Mark 8: 27 – 35

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am ?” They said in reply,

“John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”
“And, you, who do you say that I am ?
”Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
 

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly; be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribe; be killed; and  rise after three days.  He spoke openly about this.    
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  At this he turned around and looking at his disciple, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do. “     
Then he summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “ Whoever wishes to come after me must den himself, take up  his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.    

 
 

Reflection

Jesus and his disciples set out for Caesarea Philippi. They are heading toward Jerusalem. We know what will happen in Jerusalem but at this point the disciples are clueless. And so to prepare them for what is to come, Jesus turns the conversation to his identity … “Who do you think I am ?” Peter responds, “You are the Christ … the anointed one, … the promised one …. the Messiah for whom we have been waiting.”
Yes, Peter was right. However, his understanding of the Messiah was quite different that Jesus’. And so Jesus begins to teach them about his real identity. He is the Messiah of whom Isaiah speaks - the Suffering Servant. He will suffer, he will be rejected, he will be killed, but he will rise after three days. Hardly the Christ Peter was expecting.
 

 

And Jesus continues, “Whoever wishes to come with me,  to be my  disciple, must also be willing to take up the cross.  Denying one’s self, taking up one’s cross, and following Jesus is not about dramatic martyrdom, as in the persecutions of the early Church. Rather, it is about how we live our daily life. It is about dying and rising in our  simple, ordinary circumstances. It is dying to our own way of thinking, dying to the easy way of self-gratification and self – interest and  embracing God’s way of goodness, justice, integrity, truth, fullness of life.
Where does following Jesus lead you ?

 
 

Closing Prayer

Lord, Jesus, You walk with us as friend, brother, and savior, showing us the path to life.
You call us to follow You, to lose our life for the sake of the gospel.
Grant us the courage and the strength to serve, to live Your truth, to proclaim Your love to our broken world. Amen.