Second Sunday in Lent: March 4                                     

Mark 8:31-38

            Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

             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. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

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            How often have I read this passage from Mark and thought “another case where the disciples just didn’t get it,” which seems to happen a lot in Mark’s Gospel.  But mea culpa.  Too often I don’t get it either.  Like Peter, I don’t want to hear this kind of talk from anybody, let alone Jesus, about suffering and rejection and murder.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard the little post-script – and after three days rise again – after all that!  But the real smack in the face, of course, is the wake-up call that Jesus gives us.  Not so much about his death and resurrection, but about our own lives in the Gospel which he brings.  Jesus asks, “What’s your motivation for following me, the real reason:  fame, glory, the easy way out?”  If so, you’re not really following me. 

            The days of Lent invite us in to reflect and ponder and wonder.  What is our answer?

Jesus, you ask hard questions of us.

May this time of reflection guide us to new understanding

of our response to your call in our lives.

Rev. Jayne L. Chafin

Parkersburg, WV

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