24B21. Isaiah 50:4c-9a. The Servant of the Lord speaks proclaiming hopefulness in the Lord in opposition to the feeling of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity that the Lord had abandoned them. They revile and attack the Servant of the Lord. However, the Servant does not respond violently but with a willingness to stand firm and strong in the Lord who allows him to suffer without faltering or running away. He has been made to be like a rock at the edge of the ocean that suffers the pounding of the waves but stands firm in spite of all.
Mark 8:27-35. Peter calls Jesus the Messiah or Christ but thinks that meant that Jesus would be a royal military leader who wound rescue Israel from Roman military domination. When Jesus “began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and rise after three days,” Peter rebuked Jesus for thinking in a way that was so different from what he, as an ordinary Jew of the times, had in mind for the Messiah or Christ. Jesus responds to Peter saying, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Jesus calls upon his followers to “take up his cross and follow me.” What Jesus wanted of Peter and wants of us is to die to thinking as ordinary people of this world but to think and act as God wishes us to. To have God as the God of our lives means that we no longer belong to ourselves and this world but to him and to his loving will and way. This is a manner of death in which our lives are no longer ours but a totally new way of living in Christ as the life-giving force or grace in us. In Galatians 2:19c-20, St. Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
James 3:16-4:3. My understanding is that faith is living daily dependent on God to lead us and guide us and to enable us to do his will and die to our own will and way. Jesus himself lived his life faithful to his Father‘s will for him. Jesus’ life was one good miraculous work after another, culminating in the greatest of all works, his offering himself up for us on the cross, his work of redemption. Jesus calls us to do the same work he did by loving one another as he loved and still now loves us. (John 15:12)