The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.16
The Authority to Teach
The Gospel for today provides to the reader the most profound message concerning the teaching authority of the church.
This is a lesson that all Christians should bear in mind at all times, but especially in those moments when any Christian presumes to understand the will of God and to speak with authority concerning it.
Look at Peter, the first Pope, the founder of the Church, a man who walked with Jesus, who spoke with him intimately, even Peter failed to understand the mission of Jesus, and continued to fail Jesus right up until the crucifixion.
All of Jesus closest male disciples failed him, only a few of the women understood.
In this reading we see that Peter fails utterly, he resists Jesus, and Jesus rebukes him as an enemy of the church.
Peter also rejected Jesus on the night he was captured.
We are left to believe that sometime after the death of Jesus, Peter came to the fullness of truth, that he came to understand Jesus mission and when he founded the church he was at-one with Christ.
Or we may consider the alternate, that the Church of Christ was founded by a man who was essentially opposed to its mission.
Whatever the case, the reading for today teaches us to be skeptical of authority, and rightly so.
The Son of Man is Destined to Suffer Grievously
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time