24th Sunday Ordinary Time – “Two Ways: Jesus’ Way or ‘the Culture’s Way?'”


The encounter between Jesus and Peter reveals the clash of cultures. Jesus’ way. The popular way, Peter’s way. In other words, the gospel here reveals Peter, though called to follow Jesus, as thoroughly caught up in “the culture.” The rest of the gospel, then, is devoted to Jesus attempts to resolve this clash of cultures by continually teaching the Twelve and the disciples. 

To me, this suggests that there is no “culture” out there, no such entity to fear or hate. There is Jesus’ way. There is Peter’s way, my way. That’s a summary of wisdom literature. The two ways are the path of wisdom and the path of folly. 

What’s important here is that Jesus lays out the terms of “his way” of wisdom.

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 9:33-5             They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatestHe sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 10:43f            Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:43f             [To the Twelve who were arguing again about being the greatest, Jesus said…] But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.

Mark 14:36f             He said, Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 

How do these teachings of Jesus suggest ways you and I might “wage spiritual warfare against the culture?” Especially when it’s an inside job…

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