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In today's readings, two points are significantly highlighted.

Initially, St. Mark stresses the importance of true understanding
of who Jesus is for each of us, individually, by asking the question,
"But who do you say that I am"?


Then once we confirm our belief by acknowledging that Jesus is
the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God, and then we need
to apply the exhortation given to us by St. James: "Faith, of itself,
without works is dead".


Jesus asks Peter the question and Peter is quick to answer and is
pleased with his own response, we might add. But when Jesus
continues to explain His mission of service commanded by the Father,
Peter gets testy with Our Lord.


Peter was prepared to receive Jesus as a savior for success in this life,
simply because Peter was not quite certain of the meaning of
everlasting life.


It all came clear when the words of Our Lord played out in
Jesus's Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection. Peter was thinking in human
terms, not as God does.


For the most part, the Jewish community accepted that Jesus was a
prophet, a holy man of God, but was not prepared to acknowledge
the divinity of Jesus.  When Jesus spoke of God, His Father, they accused
Him of blasphemy. Jesus called Himself the Son of Man.
It was the voice from heaven at His baptism …His Father who said,
"this is my Son in whom I am well pleased".


Just as the Apostles, the Jews were expecting an earthly savior.

Jesus startled everyone by the statement, "Whoever wishes to follow me,
(meaning, whoever believes in me) must take up his cross, even if this
should mean losing his life for my sake and the sake of the Gospels."


That summons given to the people of Jesus's time holds true for us right
up to today.  If we were asked to stand firm for our faith in the penalty
of death, would we be so courageous?  St. James reminds us that we
need to be courageous if we consider ourselves Christians.


Can you imagine how difficult it was for Peter to answer the question
asked of him by Jesus, "Peter do you love me"?  Peter, when asked three
times by Our Lord, Peter had to immediately recall his denial three times
during Christ's Passion.


We profess a sincere belief in our creed which we recited earlier this
morning, and yet we must take account for our shortcomings in having
denied our dedication to God when we have fallen prone to sin.


James repeats the charge for us this (afternoon/morning), Faith without
works is dead", it is for this reason that the Son of God became Incarnate
of the Virgin Mary.


Jesus lived our experience of life. He exemplified compassion -
the mercy of God, to grant us forgiveness when our human
weakness prevails.


Sin is the cause of death to all men. Jesus suffered death by crucifixion.
Jesus died and was buried, but death had no hold on him because
Our Lord was without sin, blameless, not blasphemous.


Prior to the earthly existence of Jesus and His salvation of all mankind, 
we were children of Adam. Now we can claim that we are children of God.


We do this by living with integrity, being and acting true to our faith.
Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments".  And He said,
"There is no greater love than to give one's life for his friends".
Jesus did.       Can we say that Jesus is our true friend?

We all need to pray for forgiveness and strength of character.

May God continue to bless us...