I have noticed that we seem to be a little more interested in our family history. Many are searching for evidence and information about the past. I bumped into Helena McCloskey, a member of the International executive of Teams. She hails from Cheltenham England and recently became more aware of a forgotten link in the family history. Let’s call the man Jack. As a youngster, under 18, he was charged with stealing a shirt and a handkerchief and sentenced to death. He was successfully apprenticed at that time and his master went out of his way to appeal. Hence the sentenced was commuted; transportation for life to NSW. What then happened to him? The hunt is on.
Further, there seems to be a series of TV and radio shows dealing with ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Who are you really?’ That other show some time back, ‘Go Back to Where you Came From’, attracted some comment. We meet the sign on our way to the Teams meeting in Fatima: ‘Tourists…go home’. On White Night here in Bendigo, our newest Priest, young Dean Bougart, was attempting to bring order to the car park at St. KiIlians (a worthwhile undertaking) and was told in no uncertain terms to “go back to where you came from” in an unpleasant voice.
So it’s no wonder that even the disciples were interested to know more about Jesus and eventually Jesus himself gave them the opportunity to get an answer to what they were thinking: “Who are you?” He, of course, turned it around. He made them think and took the initiative with his “Who do people say I am?”
Mark 8:27-35 is fundamental to this Gospel and this section attempts to clarify who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. The disciples get more than they bargained for and, so too, for us.
Peter’ s answer then is still valid for us: “You are the Christ”. Whatever they understood then, we are taught that Christ, the anointed one, is the Son of God. Easy to utter, a life time of meditation to plumb the depths of that answer. Jesus then begins to shatter their lifetime hope of a warrior Messiah and victorious conqueror. It’s through the cross that victory will be attained, a scandal for the Jews and foolish for the Greeks.
We find ourselves in a similar place today.
I mentioned last week that maybe the current scandals in the church could well be our cross and that salvation for the world from this terrible scourge of child sexual abuse and family violence will come from our renewed appreciation of who Jesus is (he is still the Son of God) and that he continues to remind us that there are no quick fixes for anything in following him without the reality of the cross in its many manifestations. It is not all about being nailed to wood. Fixing our structures and living by the Gospel is a beginning, yet again.
We need to look at life from the Divine perspective.
We ask tonight to be strengthened so to look and then to act.