In the gospel of Mark we read of the Son of God, but this title is used sparingly, only at key moments The Transfiguration, Trial with the High Priest when Christ is condemned and by the centurion at the foot of the Cross, truly this Man was the Son of God.
Mark wants people to know the Christ is the Son of God, he does not want people to misunderstand who Jesus is, he is not a magician, healer, etc. There is a lot to more to Jesus and Mark wrote his gospel to clear up the misunderstandings that had arisen with regard to Jesus. The gospel writers knew they were right, they did not want people to lose heart; the communities that they were writing for were communities of faith. Mark says Jesus is Divine; He is the Son of God, not some local hero. He is the Son of God faithful to his Father.
We hear Peter’s answer to the question asked by Jesus is correct. Peter calls Jesus the Christ but he really does not understand what he has said, he did not really understand what this meant. This is the turning point in Mark’s gospel.
Peter thought that Jesus was power and glory. He saw Jesus as a great person with great power greater than that of Caesar and King David rolled into one.
Jesus was swift to correct Peter who had made a mistake. To be Christ meant rejection, torture, death and then and only then Resurrection, but to a new kind of life, eternal life offered to all.
. Peter had to accept Christ’s idea of what it meant to be Christ and to totally accept this idea. Peter had to be converted. He had to realise that Christ had not come to overturn Caesar; Christ had come to destroy sin, death and the Devil.
Are we like Peter and answer ‘Jesus, you are the Christ’ without actually thinking what this means. There are consequences if we say ‘Jesus, you are the Christ’ and these consequences are not defined by us, they are guided by Christ. If I genuinely believe in Christ I will surrender myself to His will, His ways, His agenda for me, I will not set my own agenda I will not care about my own comfort etc. I will visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament and see him in all the people I come across without exception.
If I genuinely believe that Christ is the Son of God, then everything changes and it must change. The deeper I enter into a relationship with Christ and the more I embrace His ways, His ideals, etc the more committed I become. I become a Christian. We become totally converted.
But I only become a true follower and committed member of the church if my faith is profound and rooted in Christ, so rooted that it is in the depths of my heart. So I must show concern for all not matter who they are. Faith as mentioned in the Letter of James is not only prayer but also means showing compassion and care for God’s people, as Christ has, ‘if one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need’ and we do not help then our faith is only a talking faith. Faith in Christ is a faith of action. A faith without deeds is an abstract faith ‘if the good works do not go with faith, it is quite dead’ Faith in unity with Christ, does what Christ would do. No point in being pious, kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament and being totally unaware of what is going on around us and saying to ourselves that what is happening in the third world countries has nothing to do with me.
So there are consequences in being a Christian and saying ‘You are the Messiah, the Anointed One of God’
We must be prepared to deny ourselves to follow Christ and listen to what he has to say to us. We will never be asked to give up our life for Christ I hope, I mean to be martyred for our faith. But we are asked to lose our life, and this means that we enter into a loving relationship with Christ, we love Him without reservation, we take up our cross whatever that is follow Him without grumbling. We give ourselves wholeheartedly to Christ.
This gospel today challenges us as followers of Christ. Can we willingly follow like the Suffering Servant mentioned in our Psalm, giving ourselves completely to God and to die for Christ like he died for us. IF WE DO THIS OUR LIVES WILL BE TRANSFRORMED BEYOND WORDS.