24th Sunday Ordinary Time – “Who do You Say I Am?” and the Two Paths

Who do people say I am?

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on…” [Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin]

This encounter between Jesus and Peter (and by extension, the Eleven others and the disciples) takes place on the Way. Not just any road, but the Way of discipleship. Mark’s gospel understands that Way against the horizon of the other way. The way of the world. The way of “My way, or the highway.” 

Mark 6:19            And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not,

Mark 6:22             When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.”

Mark 6:25f             Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.

Mark 10:35f               James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?”

Mark 12:38–40                As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Why? “I have to take care of myself. Nobody else will!” This is the way of folly. The path of “I’m number one!” Again, it differs from… 

Mark 8:34–36             He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

Mark 8:34–36              He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

The Joy of Being Wrong is the grand discovery that I don’t have to save myself, worship myself, hang on to grudges, righteous anger, and so on.

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