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The Suffering Messiah

TIME IN A BOTTLE
September 25, 2020
ECOLOGICAL CONVERSION
September 27, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: The Suffering Messiah
 
In our gospel today, the Lord asked His disciples a life-defining question: “Who do you say I am?” In the midst of a pandemic, this is also the question the Lord is asking us. What is your reply? Have you changed your answer in the midst of our chaos, difficulty, and trials now? What do you think the reason behind why Jesus suddenly asked this question?
 
To understand the gospel today, it is good to understand the context of our gospel reading today. At beginning of Chapter 9, Jesus commissioned his disciples to join Him and then the multiplication of bread followed. Everybody was amazed by the miracles. This Jesus was indeed the messiah and miracle-worker! The crowd started admiring and following Jesus. They want to follow Jesus, not to know Him, but to see more miracles.
And this was not good. A bad motivation in following Him. Even Peter has no total grasp of His real identity and mission.
 
Immediately, Jesus began correcting the people’s notion of Him, by exposing the idea of SUFFERING MESSIAH. Jesus did not want people to MISREAD HIM. He wanted the crowd, especially the disciples to follow Him as He is … a suffering messiah, destined to suffer and die on the cross. In the Gospel of Mark, Peter rebuked Jesus for saying it.
 
Yes, to say Jesus was the Messiah is correct. BUT IT IS NOT EVERYTHING OF JESUS. He would save us through His Love by dying on the cross. Loving us much would mean suffering and death. Loving us would mean entering JERUSALEM AND EMBRACING ALL THE PAIN AND SUFFERING DESTINED FOR A MESSIAH. To save humanity is to love us by dying on the cross.
 
As followers of Jesus, we are also invited by Jesus to embrace our Jerusalem. Loving Jesus means embracing the pain of discipleship. Love would expose us to pain and suffering, for these are the greatest expression of love.
 
In the end, we are being invited every day to enter our own Jerusalem and embrace it. Our Jerusalems (suffering and pain due to loving) is the GATE OF NO RETURN. It separates the sheep from the goat, the fake disciples from the genuine disciples, meaningless life from fruitful life. But when someone enters Jerusalem or embraces his or her own suffering, he or she will experience the following:
 
1. Knowing Jesus intimately.
2. Genuine commitment and loving. A commitment to companionship, discipleship, and mission.
3. Fullness of life by offering our life for others.
4. Clear understanding of the call to love.
5. A personal resurrection by being BORN AGAIN.
 
Jesus wants us to have a full of grasped of His Lordship. The cross made Him a real Messiah. Our cross would make us GENUINE DISCIPLES.
 
Do you really know Jesus? As suffering Messiah?
Do you really know yourself? As a suffering disciple?
 
Open your eyes, what made us true to ourselves is our ability to embrace our daily cross with joy and faith in our hearts.
 
– Fr. Willy M. Samson, SJ
 
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September 25, 2020
Gospel Reading 9: 18-22

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