Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(James 2:1-9; Mark 8:27-33)
Mark’s gospel, the shortest of the four, has been recited on Broadway. In a one-person show, an actor has successfully held the audience’s attention for over two hours. Because the work deals with who is this man Jesus, today’s gospel passage must have comprised the climax of the drama. No doubt for this reason the evangelist places it at the center of his work.
Jesus has been careful about not allowing his identity to be known. He chastises the evil spirits whom he expels when they attempt to reveal his divine origin. The disciples have observed him up close but only after seeing him repeatedly feed multitudes, control the elements, and cure diseases can they say that Jesus is the long-expected Messiah. Yet they cannot understand how Jesus will be rejected. For them the Messiah is the conqueror not the vanquished. As to being raised from the dead, this concept is as incomprehensible as saying he will jump to the moon.
We might ask ourselves if our lives were ever dramatized, would Jesus have more than a bit part? Would he be there at the climax when we take a decisive step in determining our destiny? The occasion may be the day we let go of a particular vice or the time we commit ourselves love our families unreservedly. Is he at center stage with us today?