Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Gn 9:1-13; Ps 102:16-18,19-21,29,22,23; Mk 8:27-33:  The LORD has made new his holy city, Jerusalem; He has rebuilt Zion.  The LORD made a new covenant with Noah and all the creatures that came out of the ark.  The Lord Jesus revealed a new concept of messiah to his disciples. Something new is happening even now among us who gather in prayer.  The LORD regards our prayer; He does not despise our prayer.  Today he rebuilds us and appears among us in his glory.  The LORD does this so that every nation comes to revere His Name.  Indeed, the LORD is king over all the nations on earth.  Our God has revealed himself to this generation.  From of old it has been written: “The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven He beheld the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”  We are the children of those among whom the LORD has chosen to abide; we are the posterity who continue in the presence of the LORD.  When the peoples and the kingdoms gather together to serve the LORD in Zion, we will reveal the Glory of the LORD.  Even more magnificent than the rain bow, the Glory of the LORD among us will summon all to come and worship.  All the destitute and despised will find in the Crucified and Risen Christ the Glory of the LORD that attracts every human heart.  There is no greater love than this.  Nothing in all creation or in history is more glorious than the sacrifice of the precious, the faithful Son of Man.

Again, the LORD commands man to be fertile and fill the earth.  We are to fill the earth with the image and likeness of the LORD, our Creator.  Just as Noah and his sons live in the fear of the LORD, so too all the creatures of the earth are to live in fear of man. Indeed, the LORD has given this dread fear to the animals, birds, and fishes so that they might have a chance to escape being food for man.  After many long weeks in the ark the clean and unclean creatures have been domesticated, now the fear of man is upon them.  The lifeblood of man and beast is not to be consumed.  The lifeblood of every creature must be accounted for.  No beast can take human life without consequence. Man is not to kill just for the fun of it.  No man is to spill the blood of another man, for everyman is the image of God.  Life is sacred because it reveals the all holy Creator.  Even the LORD, himself, promises to honor the life of every living creature.  Never again will there be a flood to devastate the earth.  God makes this covenant with all creation.  This is His covenant between himself and every living creature on earth. It is his bow in the clouds right after the rain-storm that reminds us of the LORD and His promise to us and all the creatures, great and small.  The rainbow is the most definitive sign of God’s faithful love until the incarnation of His Son who is lifted up between heaven and earth as the ultimate sign of just how precious is human life.  The LORD looks down upon the earth and beholds his Son, his only begotten Son. As he gazes upon the greatness of Christ’s love, the Father still cries out behold this is very good.

We are the disciples to whom the Lord Jesus addresses this question while we walk along the way from place to place: “Who do people say that I am?”  Can there be a more important question?  The people are curious about us, and our ways of living in this world. Why follow this Jesus?  Why live a counter cultural life-style?  Why give this Jesus so much power over our lives? The people try to answer these questions.  Some think perhaps it’s because Jesus is a prophet like Saint John the Baptist, or even the great Elijah who is supposed to return from the dead to prepare the world for the coming messiah.  It is Saint Peter who has a flash of divine inspiration; as he cries out, “You are the Christ!”  Such a truth the world is not ready to hear, and the Lord Jesus warns his disciples to keep it quiet.  Before you can make such a claim, the Lord goes on to say that he must suffer greatly, be rejected, killed and rise from the dead after three days.  This revelation is too much even for the disciples.  Is it too much for us even now, at this time in history?  Do we not like Saint Peter try to take the Lord aside and rebuke him?  Perhaps we are afraid that such bad news will diminish our ranks?  Perhaps we fear the kind of demoralizing affect this prophecy will have on anyone who is thinking about becoming a disciple of the Lord Jesus.  Whatever our hesitation to accept this revelation the Lord Jesus tells us to join Saint Peter.  Indeed, we must get behind him so that we can better follow after him and learn the ways of God, the Way of the Cross.