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Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday of the 6 OT1

Readings: Gen 9:1-13; Mk 8:27-33.

1/ Reading I: NAB Genesis 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: "Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. 2 Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. 3 Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 4 Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat. 5 For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life. 6 If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man been made. 7 Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it." 8 God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 "See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. 11 I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth." 12 God added: "This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: 13 I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 8:27 Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" 28 They said in reply, "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets." 29 And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Messiah." 30 Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31 He 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. 32 He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."



THEME: The rainbow and the cross are the signs of God’s love for human beings.

            People are quick to forget, so God uses symbols to remind people. Each time people look at a symbol, they remember what happened. The purpose of recalling is to help people to behave in a proper way so that they shall not have to receive bad results or to live according to the love of one who sacrificed for them. For examples: the pictures of the dead, the monuments of the soldiers, etc.

            In today readings, God uses some concrete symbols to remind people of what happened in the past. In the first reading, God uses the rainbow to remind people of the Great Flood. Each time people see a rainbow, they are reminded that sin is the reason of the Great Flood and God’s promise not to destroy people and the earth in such way again. In the Gospel, Jesus forewarned his apostle the way of the cross which he is going to endure. Each time we look upon the cross, we are reminded that our sins are the cause of the son of God’s death and Christ’s love for human beings.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: The rainbow is the sign of the new covenant between heaven and earth.

1.1/ Some differences between the two eras: The old era is begun from God’s creation to the Great Flood. The new era is begun when God established the new covenant with Noah. What we first recognize in the two verses, 1 and 7, with the similar command, “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth” established the boundary for a periscope. This command is also like God’s command the first time when He created human beings. From verse 2 to 6 are the new laws for the new era:

            (1) Men have power over animals: Unlike the order of the first era, animals fear of people in the new era as God said, “Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered.”

            (2) Men are permitted to eat their meat but not their blood: In the old era, men can eat only plants and fruits; in the new era, men are permitted to eat animals, but not their blood. This tradition of not eating blood might originate in P tradition because they believed blood is the seat of life (cf. Lev 17:10-14, Deut 12:23, Acts 15:29).

            (3) Who kills a person, that one shall be killed: This command is applied to both men and animals. Only God has an absolute right over life; people must practice what God commands.

            (4) A body for a body: God said, “If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man been made.” This command isn’t exist in the old era since Cain wasn’t shed blood for killing his brother, Abel.

1.2/ God’s new covenant with Noah: If we understand a covenant is a contract signed by two parties and agreed about the two parties’ duties, this isn’t a purely covenant. It contains only God’s promises and does not mention about human duties. God’s promises are extended to all things that live on the earth.

            (1) Such Great Flood shall never be happened again: God said to Noah and to his sons with him: "See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth."

            (2) The rainbow is the sign of the covenant: God continues, “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” When people look at the rainbow, they recall two things: The Great Flood was happened due to people’s sins and God promised he shall not destroy people and the earth with such terrible flood.

2/ Gospel:The cross is the covenant of love between God and human beings.

2.1/ Jesus’ true identity: The Passion is near, Jesus knew in advance what shall happen to him. It is the time for him to know people’s faith in him, especially the faith of his disciples after he has revealed, taught and displayed of his power. Today passage happened on the way to villages of Caesarea Philippi which is Banias now. This is a beautiful and sacred area, it lies at the foot of Mt. Hermon and is the intersection of many Syrian rivers; therefore it is inudated with water. It is the origin source of Galilee sea and Jordan river, the only source of water for Palestine. There are many altar of gods which were discovered in this area: the god of Pan of the Greek; the emperor Caesar of the Romans; many gods of the Syrians and the Baal god of the Hebrew. The golden calf which Jeroboam made and put at Dan was also found in this area. Jesus intended to use this place and put out the question so that his disciples could recognize the difference between him and all the gods of other religions.

            Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others one of the prophets." King Herode believed Jesus was John Baptist whom he killed and resurrected. The Jewish tradition believed the prophet Elijah shall come back before the Messiah’s coming. All these answers didn’t reveal Jesus’ true identity. Jesus put out the same question for his disciples: "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." And he charged them to tell no one about him. This is the correct answer which Jesus desired because this is his true identity, the Messiah, the one sent from the Father.

2.2/ The Messiah’s way of salvation: “And Jesus began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.”

            Peter, though he knew Jesus’ true identity, didn’t know Jesus’ way of salvation. He couldn’t accept a suffering Messiah who must go through the way of the cross to save humankind. He tried to persuade Jesus to use other way, and Jesus heavily rebuked him: “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                   

            - Every time we look at the rainbow, we recall the Great Flood and people’s sins are the reason of such terrible flood. However, due to God’s love, God promises that he shall not cause such a great flood again to destroy people and the earth.

            - Every time we look at the cross, we recall Jesus’ terrible death and our sins are the reason of his death. Because of his immense love, God the Father gave us his only Son who died for us so that we can inherit the salvation.

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