Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 9, 18-22

Now it happened that he was praying alone, and his disciples came to him and he put this question to them, 'Who do the crowds say I am?'

And they answered, 'Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; others again one of the ancient prophets come back to life.'

'But you,' he said to them, 'who do you say I am?' It was Peter who spoke up. 'The Christ of God,' he said.

But he gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone.

He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Peter’s profession of faith marks a turning point in the Gospel narratives: it prepares the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Luke does not specify where the scene takes place (Mark and Matthew situate it in Caesarea Philippi), but puts it in a context of prayer, a scene which is frequently repeated in the third Gospel. The evangelist seems to describe the moment when the Christian community gathers together for the common prayer: it is an indispensable time in order to live in intimacy with Jesus. On that occasion - the text notes - Jesus asks the disciples what the people think about him. And he is told what the buzz is, that which had reached even Herod Antipas. In reality, he wanted to know rather what they thought about him, now that they had been with him for some time. And Peter answered for everyone: "The Messiah of God." It is a solemn profession. And even clearer than the one reported in Mark’s parallel passage since "of God" is added to the word "Messiah." Truly Peter is the first, he who in the name of all professes the true faith. He is before us so that each one of us responds with the same words to the question which Jesus continues to ask us, too: "But you, who do you say I am?" It is not an abstract question, as if we were in front of a catechism text. It is Jesus himself who asks our mind and our heart to understand him and love him as the one who saves us. The secret about his person which Jesus commands the disciples to keep is not in order to hide himself, on the contrary, he does not want his mission to derail on worldly and false tracks. He in fact immediately adds what fate awaits him in Jerusalem: he must suffer much, be killed, but rise again on the third day. We know from the parallel Synoptic passages that Peter reacts negatively. Probably he had not paid attention to the word about the resurrection, as often happens to us when we select perhaps at will the Gospel words. In any case Jesus’ message was clear: the cross is indispensable for reaching the resurrection. It is the mystery of Jesus’ life, of that of the Church and of the disciple of every age. The victory of good over evil surpasses the way of the cross.