This Sunday’s Readings:
Psalm 116:1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 8–9
TODAY’S GOSPEL READING IS THE TURNING POINT IN MARK’S NARRATIVE, where we hear for the first time since Mark 1:1 Jesus referred to as “Christ” and the cost of following him. From now on, Jesus’s road points directly toward Jerusalem and the cross that awaits him there.
We’ve become so accustomed to the shocking revelation of Jesus’s passion that Peter’s rebuke and Jesus’s harsh response have lost their bite. Of course, the Christ must suffer and be rejected, be killed, then rise after three days. That’s just what the Messiah does.
However, for Peter and the other disciples, their Christ would use military force to free Israel from Roman rule. Jesus’s announcement of his suffering and death at the hands of their oppressor was the complete opposite of his follower’s expectations. At this crossroads, those who would follow Jesus must embrace his redefinition of what the Christ would do: establish God’s reign not by force but by self-sacrificing love.
There still may be a rebuke for us, too. Have we defined Jesus with our expectation that he looks and acts like those in power? Is it shocking for us to embrace that Jesus was not, in fact, white, like so much of our artwork portrays, but was a dark-skinned itinerant peace activist? Can we redefine Jesus not as human beings do but as God does?
In a welcome place is my abode, in hearts both young and old. There I enter in and will be known as compassion gently shown.
For too long lately, embracing someone has been too risky. Social distancing, staying six feet apart was, and in many places remains, the best way to show care and concern for others, in such stark contrast to pre-pandemic days. But, the fact remains that embracing someone or something, literally or figuratively, is an intentional way to show acceptance, to show love, to show comfort, to show compassion. In today’s Gospel reading, we are called to embrace real discipleship, but not begrudgingly. We are invited to embrace Jesus’ Way and Cross lovingly, willingly, enthusiastically, joyfully. How will we make our hearts a welcome place for Jesus today? And then, how will we make our hearts a welcome place for others, where they can meet Jesus too?
More choral suggestions for the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time…
All for You Mikey Needleman two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008494
Alleluia Round William Boyce, Arr. Richard Proulx SAB, keyboard, opt. flute, horn 1 and 2, trombone 1 and 2, bass G-6325
Christ Has No Body Now but Yours Steven C. Warner SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, flute 007284
El Señor Es Compasivo / The Lord Is Rich in Kindness: Salmo 103(102) Peter M. Kolar Unison choir, descants, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, flute 012670
I Can Do All Things John Angotti Three-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008094
Near the Cross Arr. Michael Philip Ward SATB, descant, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008526
O Christ, the Healer, We Have Come / When I Behold the Wondrous Cross Peter M. Kolar Unison choir, descant, piano, flute, violin 008994
One Faith in Christ Laurence Rosania SATB, descant, assembly, organ, opt. brass quartet 008735
Pan del Cielo / Bread of Heaven Eleazar Cortés, Arr. Jeffrey Honoré & Peter M. Kolar Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, opt. marimba 012643
Take Up Your Cross Ronald Corp SATB, keyboard G-6549
The Lord Is My Savior Arr. Carl Johengen SATB, piano G-5118