GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
So that's the second element in the reading for today.
This is the first passion prediction in the Gospel of Mark, and scholars have frequently pointed out that if you look at Mark's gospel carefully, Jesus predicts his passion, death, and resurrection on three occasions. The first one is after Peter proclaims him the Christ. So as soon as Peter explicitly acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus immediately responds to that by saying let me tell you what kind of Messiah I'm going to be, I'm going to be a suffering Messiah, I'm going to be a betrayed Messiah, I'm going to be a Messiah who’s going to be killed by the leaders of the people but on the third day I'll be a rising Messiah, I’m going to rise from the dead. So this is the first prediction of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and in Mark's gospel the theme of suffering is central. So what we see him doing here is emphasizing that Jesus is trying to clarify for the disciples that he's not going to be a triumphant Davidic Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a chariot in order to conquer his enemies, he’s going to be a suffering and dying Messiah who will end up crucified. Now how does Peter take that? Not well. So it's fascinating. If you look at Mark here it says Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. Now sometimes in our imagination we think Peter took Jesus aside and said oh Lord please, I don’t want this to happen to you, because that's how the movies about the life of Christ will show it, but that’s not what Mark says. Mark says that Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him. In other words. he gave him a good talking to. He's basically reprimanding Jesus for predicting his own passion.
Now I want you to think about that for a second. Imagine rebuking Jesus and taking Jesus aside and saying, let me tell you how it's going to be, right. Good thing we don’t ever do that in our lives, right, tell God how things are going to be or how they're going to need to be. We all have that tendency to think we know better than the Lord does. And of course it's foolish every time we think that, we're always acting like a fool, because God of course in his providence knows everything and Jesus here knows exactly what God's plan is and what he’s going to accomplish on Calvary, but Peter doesn't understand it yet and so on the one hand it's ridiculous for Peter to rebuke Jesus. On the other hand, it is at least worth noting that Peter here isn't even concerned about himself, he’s concerned about Jesus. He doesn't want something to happen to Jesus, he doesn’t want Jesus to have to suffer. But in that context what does Jesus say? The famous words, get behind me Satan. Now why is Jesus so harsh with Peter? All Peter is trying to do is avoid suffering. Isn’t that a reasonable response to the threat of crucifixion, of death, of persecution and betrayal. Well it seems reasonable unless you understand that the plan of God is for his Messiah to suffer and die, unless you understand that the way of salvation is the way of the cross, so that the desire to avoid suffering, in this context, the desire of Peter for Christ to avoid his suffering and his passion is in its essence satanic, right, because it would undo the very mechanism by which God is going to redeem the world and deliver it from Satan and from the power of death.
SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
Alright, so a very famous passage, very powerful passage. One that is very commonly used, at least in the last five centuries, as a point of apologetics or a response to the Protestant Reformation's slogan (going back to Martin Luther) of justification by faith alone (in Latin, Sola Fide
); the idea that in in order to be justified or to be declared righteous, to be saved, all one has to do is have faith. Sola Fide,
This text—you have probably already heard this so I won’t go in to many details about it— famously Martin Luther, who was originally an Augustinian monk and then became one of the leading Protestant reformers, had a very difficult relationship with the letter of James precisely because he was promulgating the slogan of justification by faith alone. That slogan of faith alone, that expression faith alone in Scripture only occurs in the letter of James 2, where in James 2:24 it actually says:
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
So the only time faith alone occurs is when the letter of James rejects that as a way of summarizing the teaching of the apostles on justification.
That is a long and complex debate that we don’t have time to get into right now, but for now the main point I want to highlight is what does James mean? What is the meaning of James' words about faith and works in context? In their original context what is James trying to say and how has it been interpreted in the tradition of the Catholic Church?
So I just want to say a few words about this...
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