Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
In the 1930’s, a young writer in New York City was struggling to publish a novel. As World War II broke out in Europe he looked into his own heart as well as the headlines and produced a soul-searching examination of human violence and war. Unfortunately, his novel remained unpublished for years.
The author? Thomas Merton, the most prominent Catholic author of the 20th century. His wartime novel, My Argument with the Gestapo, was finally published years after Merton became a Trappist monk and had written many spiritual books.
Merton’s insight into war and peace are echoed in today’s second reading from the Letter of James. There the author explores where wars and conflicts originate. He tells us that violence starts from within the human heart. But from God comes the possibility of peace.
Jesus offers us the way to peace in the Gospel today, inviting us to put ourselves last–as servants. Let us “cultivate peace” in our hearts, our communities, our world.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Is 50:4c-9a), Isaiah said that God is the source of his strength in the sufferings he faces. Isaiah says God has “set his face like flint,” in facing all sorts of suffering. What is flint? Have you ever seen it?
Is Isaiah afraid of others who are harming him?
In this week’s second reading (Jas 2:14-18), James asks a question about the faith of those who claim to believe in God but do nothing for others who are suffering or who need help.
The final words of today’s reading give a good summary of James’ teaching about the need to put our faith into action. Is James saying that we must “walk the walk and not just talk the talk?”
What is the question that Jesus asks his disciples in today’s Gospel reading (Mk 8:27-35)?
Some disciples said John the Baptist or Elijah or one of the prophets. Who finally comes up with the right answer to Jesus’ question?
Peter is told he is right, but that he really does not understand the meaning of what he said?
What did Jesus teach about the sort of future he was facing?
In the spirit of the second reading, try to do one good act today for someone.
Gather your family or some friends and have everyone pick a person from a certain category, such as biblical figures. Each person should come up with five clues for the person they’ve chosen. Based on those clues, try to guess who the person is.