24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Green.
First Reading: Isaiah 50:5-9
I offered my back to those who struck me
The Lord has opened my ear. For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.
The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.
My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?
Then let us go to court together.
Who thinks he has a case against me?
Let him approach me.
The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 114(116):1-6,8-9
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
I love the Lord for he has heard the cry of my appeal;
for he turned his ear to me in the day when I called him.
They surrounded me, the snares of death,
with the anguish of the tomb; they caught me, sorrow and distress.
I called on the Lord’s name. O Lord, my God, deliver me!
How gracious is the Lord, and just; our God has compassion.
The Lord protects the simple hearts; I was helpless so he saved me.
He has kept my soul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
Second Reading: James 2:14-18
If good works do not go with it, faith is quite dead
Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’, without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.
This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds – now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show.’
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord;
No one can come to the Father except through me.
The only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord,
through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.
Gospel: Mark 8:27-35
The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
I have learned with deep satisfaction that representatives of associations and movements for the family and for life will be coming to Rio de Janeiro from all parts of the world. Together they will bear great witness, which will take on the positive significance of a challenge. They will tell the world that by drawing inspiration for one’s life from the Gospel, it is possible to live a faithful, responsible and generous love; they will say that the family is the natural cradle where it is possible to welcome human life joyfully and to love, protect and educate it.
Dear families! Be the salt of the earth and the light of the world! (cf. Matthew 5:13, 14). Today more than ever it is your impelling duty to proclaim the beauty and greatness of authentic love by your way of life itself. By drawing on the mystery of the love of Christ and the Church in the sacrament of marriage, make the Gospel light, in which lies the world’s salvation, shine forth in yourselves.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 21 September 1997)
This Sunday's readings, which invite us to examine the way in which God's saving plan is fulfilled, shed light on all of this. From the book of the prophet Isaiah we have heard the description of the suffering Servant, which is a portrait of a person who makes himself totally available to God. "The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward" (Isaiah 50: 5). The Servant of Yahweh accepts the mission entrusted to him, even if it is arduous and full of pitfalls: his trust in God gives him the necessary strength and resources to achieve it, remaining firm even in adversity.
The mystery of suffering and redemption announced by the figure of the Servant of Yahweh is fulfilled in Christ. As we heard in today's Gospel, Jesus began to teach the Apostles "that the Son of man must suffer many things" (Mark 8: 31). At first sight, this prospect seems humanly difficult to accept, as the immediate reaction of Peter and the Apostles shows (cf. Mark 8: 32-35). And how could it be otherwise? Suffering can only create fear! But precisely in the redemptive suffering of Christ lies the true answer to the challenge of pain, which weighs so much on our human condition. Indeed, Christ took upon himself our sufferings, he assumed our pain, casting a new light of hope and life upon them through his Cross and his Resurrection.
"I by my works will show you my faith" (James 2: 18). With these words, the Apostle James invited us not to be afraid of openly and courageously expressing our faith in Christ in our daily lives, especially in works of charity and solidarity with those who are in need (cf. vv. 15-16).
Today I thank the Lord not only for all the brothers and sisters who witness to this active faith in daily service to the elderly, but also for all elderly people who, to the best of their ability, still continue to do their utmost for others.
In this festive celebration of the Jubilee of the Elderly you would like to renew your profession of faith in Christ, the one Saviour of man, and your adherence to the Church, in the commitment to a life lived under the banner of love.
Today we would like to give thanks together for the gift of the Incarnation of the Son of God and of the Redemption he accomplished. Let us continue the pilgrimage of our daily lives in the certainty that human history in general and the events of each person's life are part of a divine plan on which the mystery of Christ's Resurrection sheds light.
We ask Mary, the Virgin pilgrim in the faith and our heavenly Mother, to accompany us on the path of life and to help us say, like her, our "yes" to God's will, singing our Magnificat with her in everlasting, heartfelt trust and joy.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 17 September 2000)
Before imparting the final blessing, I would like once again to greet each one of you, dear elderly brothers and sisters, and with you, thank God who has granted us to reach the Year 2000 and to celebrate the Great Jubilee. May your faith, which you have renewed and professed on this happy occasion, always give peace and comfort to you and to your loved ones.
To all of you, elderly brothers and sisters, I express the wish that you will live with patient resignation the years which the Lord establishes for each one as messengers of Christian peace and happiness in your homes and communities; ever ready to bear witness to the hope that is in you, through faith in Christ our Saviour.
I cordially greet the elderly people who have come to Rome from Poland and from the other countries of the world to take part in this Jubilee solemnity. I also greet with affection those who have joined us via radio and television. I hope that all my compatriots who have had the opportunity to live so many years will be able - supported by God's grace and the tender love of their families - to enrich the beginning of the new millennium with the fruits of their experience. God bless you!
May the example and intercession of the Blessed Virgin help every elderly person also to see in old age a call to cooperate generously in God's loving plan.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 17 September 2000)
1. Continuing on my spiritual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Pompei, which I am looking forward to visiting, please God, this coming 7 October, I would like today to pause and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary known as "the mysteries of light". They integrate the traditional moments of the childhood, passion and glory of Christ with those, equally important, of his "public life" (cf. Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 19).
It is the season in which Jesus, with the power of his words and actions, fully reveals the "face" of the heavenly Father, inaugurating his Kingdom of love, justice and peace. The Baptism in the Jordan, the wedding at Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor and the institution of the Eucharist are all moments of revelation: "luminous" mysteries, precisely, that are radiant with the splendour of the divine nature of God in Jesus Christ.
2. In these mysteries, Mary is present mainly in the background except in one of them, the wedding at Cana, where the "Mother of Jesus" has a crucial role. Indeed, it is she who indicates to the Son that the wine has run out; and when he replies that "his hour" has not yet come, she prompts him with maternal urgency, saying to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2: 5). In this way she shows that she has more insight than anyone into the profound intentions of Jesus. She knows him "heart to heart", for from the outset she has cherished and pondered on his every act and his every word (cf. Luke 2: 19, 51). This is why the Virgin is the first and most important teacher of Christian prayer: at her school we learn to contemplate the face of the Lord, to internalize his sentiments and to accept his values with generous coherence.
3. Dear brothers and sisters, let us follow Christ on the journey of his mysteries of salvation with the burning love of the Virgin Mary. In these last weeks of the Year of the Rosary, let us feel more closely united than ever as we recite the holy Rosary for families, and particularly for peace in the world.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 21 September 2003)
Now, before the Marian prayer, I would like to reflect on two recent and important liturgical events: the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on 14 September, and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated the following day.
These two liturgical celebrations can be summed up visually in the traditional image of the Crucifixion, which portrays the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, according to the description of the Evangelist John, the only one of the Apostles who stayed by the dying Jesus.
But what does exalting the Cross mean? Is it not maybe scandalous to venerate a shameful form of execution? The Apostle Paul says: "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles" (I Corinthians 1: 23). Christians, however, do not exalt just any cross but the Cross which Jesus sanctified with his sacrifice, the fruit and testimony of immense love. Christ on the Cross pours out his Blood to set humanity free from the slavery of sin and death.
Therefore, from being a sign of malediction, the Cross was transformed into a sign of blessing, from a symbol of death into a symbol par excellence of the Love that overcomes hatred and violence and generates immortal life. "O Crux, ave spes unica! O Cross, our only hope!". Thus sings the liturgy.
The Evangelist recounts: Mary was standing by the Cross (cf. John 19: 25-27). Her sorrow is united with that of her Son. It is a sorrow full of faith and love. The Virgin on Calvary participates in the saving power of the suffering of Christ, joining her "fiat", her "yes", to that of her Son.
Dear brothers and sisters, spiritually united to Our Lady of Sorrows, let us also renew our "yes" to God who chose the Way of the Cross in order to save us. This is a great mystery which continues and will continue to take place until the end of the world, and which also asks for our collaboration.
May Mary help us to take up our cross every day and follow Jesus faithfully on the path of obedience, sacrifice and love.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 17 September 2006)
On this Sunday, the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the word of God calls us into question with two crucial questions that I shall sum up in these words: "Who do you say Jesus of Nazareth is?". Then: "Is your faith shown in your works, or not?". We find the first question in today's Gospel, where Jesus asks his disciples: "Who do you say that I am?" (Mark 8: 29). Peter's answer is loud and clear: "You are the Christ", in other words the Messiah, the consecrated one of God, sent to save his People. Therefore Peter and the other Apostles, unlike the majority, believe not only that Jesus is a great teacher or a prophet but far more. They have faith: they believe that God is present and active in him. However, directly after this profession of faith when Jesus announces openly for the first time that he must suffer and be killed, Peter himself opposes the prospect of suffering and death. Jesus must then rebuke him sternly, to make him understand that it is not enough to believe that he is God but that, impelled by charity, it is necessary to follow him on the same path, that of the Cross (cf. Mark 8: 31-33). Jesus did not come to teach us philosophy but to show us a way, indeed the way that leads to life.
This way is love which is an expression of true faith. If someone loves his neighbour with a pure and generous heart it means that he truly knows God. If instead someone says he has faith but does not love his brethren, he is not a true believer. God does not dwell within him. St James clearly affirms this in the Second Reading of this Sunday's Mass: "Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2: 17). In this regard I would like to cite a passage from St John Chrysostom, one of the great Fathers of the Church, whom the liturgical calendar today invites us to commemorate. In commenting precisely on the verse from the Letter of James quoted above, he writes: "A person moreover may have a righteous faith in the Father and in the Son, as in the Holy Spirit, but if he does not have a righteous life, his faith will not serve him for salvation. Therefore, when you read in the Gospel: "This is eternal life, that they know you as the one true God' (John 17: 3), do not think that this verse suffices to save us: a most pure life and conduct are essential" (cit. in J.A. Cramer, Catenae graecorum Patrum in N.T., Vol. VIII: In Epist. Cath. et Apoc., Oxford 1844).
Dear friends, tomorrow we shall be celebrating the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross and the following day, that of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Virgin Mary, who believed in the word of the Lord, did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, abused and crucified. Rather she remained beside Jesus, suffering and praying, until the end. And she saw the radiant dawn of his Resurrection. Let us learn from her to witness to our faith with a life of humble service, ready to personally pay the price of staying faithful to the Gospel of love and truth, certain that nothing that we do will be lost.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 13 September 2009)
On this Sunday when the Gospel asks us about the true identity of Jesus, we find ourselves transported with the disciples to the road leading to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asks them: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). The moment he chose to ask this question is not insignificant. Jesus was facing a decisive turning-point in his life. He was going up to Jerusalem, to the place where the central events of our salvation would take place: his crucifixion and resurrection. In Jerusalem too, following these events, the Church would be born. And at this decisive moment, Jesus first asks his disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). They give very different answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets! Today, as down the centuries, those who encounter Jesus along their own way give their own answers. These are approaches which can be helpful in finding the way to truth. But while not necessarily false, they remain insufficient, for they do not go to the heart of who Jesus is. Only those willing to follow him on his path, to live in fellowship with him in the community of his disciples, can truly know who he is. Finally, Peter, who had dwelt with Jesus for some time, gives his answer: “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). It is the right answer, of course, but it is still not enough, since Jesus feels the need to clarify it. He realizes that people could use this answer to advance agendas which are not his, to raise false temporal hopes in his regard. He does not let himself be confined to the attributes of the human saviour which many were expecting.
By telling his disciples that he must suffer and be put to death, and then rise again, Jesus wants to make them understand his true identity. He is a Messiah who suffers, a Messiah who serves, and not some triumphant political saviour. He is the Servant who obeys his Father’s will, even to giving up his life. This had already been foretold by the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading. Jesus thus contradicts the expectations of many. What he says is shocking and disturbing. We can understand the reaction of Peter who rebukes him, refusing to accept that his Master should suffer and die! Jesus is stern with Peter; he makes him realize that anyone who would be his disciple must become a servant, just as he became Servant.
In today’s second reading, Saint James tells us to what extent our walking in the footsteps of Jesus, if it is to be authentic, demands concrete actions. “I, by my works, will show you my faith” (James 2:18). It is an imperative task of the Church to serve and of Christians to be true servants in the image of Jesus. Service is a foundational element of the identity of Christ’s followers (cf. John 13:15-17). The vocation of the Church and of each Christian is to serve others, as the Lord himself did, freely and impartially. Consequently, in a world where violence constantly leaves behind its grim trail of death and destruction, to serve justice and peace is urgently necessary for building a fraternal society, for building fellowship! Dear brothers and sisters, I pray in particular that the Lord will grant to this region of the Middle East servants of peace and reconciliation, so that all people can live in peace and with dignity. This is an essential testimony which Christians must render here, in cooperation with all people of good will. I appeal to all of you to be peacemakers, wherever you find yourselves.
Service must also be at the heart of the life of the Christian community itself. Every ministry, every position of responsibility in the Church, is first and foremost a service to God and to our brothers and sisters. This is the spirit which should guide the baptized among themselves, and find particular expression in an effective commitment to serving the poor, the outcast and the suffering, so that the inalienable dignity of each person may be safeguarded.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 16 September 2012)
Let us turn now to Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Lebanon. Let us ask her to intercede with her divine Son for you and, more particularly, for the people of Syria and the neighbouring countries, imploring the gift of peace. You know all too well the tragedy of the conflicts and the violence which generates so much suffering. Sadly, the din of weapons continues to make itself heard, along with the cry of the widow and the orphan. Violence and hatred invade people’s lives, and the first victims are women and children. Why so much horror? Why so many dead? I appeal to the international community! I appeal to the Arab countries that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person! Those who wish to build peace must cease to see in the other an evil to be eliminated. It is not easy to see in the other a person to be respected and loved, and yet this is necessary if peace is to be built, if fraternity is desired (cf. 1 John 2:10-11; 1 Peter 3:8-12). May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence! May men understand that they are all brothers! Mary, our Mother, understands our concern and our needs. Together with the Patriarchs and Bishops present, I place the Middle East under her maternal protection (cf. Propositio 44). May we, with God’s help, be converted so as to work ardently to establish the peace that is necessary for harmonious coexistence among brothers, whatever their origins and religious convictions.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 16 September 2012)
Today’s Gospel presents us Jesus who, on his way towards Caesarea Philippi, asks the disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). They respond with what the people are saying: some believe he is John the Baptist reborn, others Elijah or one of the great Prophets. The people appreciated Jesus, they considered him “God’s emissary”, but still were unable to recognize him as the foretold Messiah, awaited by all. Jesus looks at the Apostles and asks again: “But who do you say that I am?” (v. 29). This is the most important question, which Jesus directly addresses to those who have followed him, to verify their faith. Peter, in the name of all, exclaims candidly: “You are the Christ” (v. 29). Jesus is struck by Peter’s faith, and recognizes that it is the fruit of grace, a special grace of God the Father. Then he openly reveals to the disciples what awaits him in Jerusalem, which is that “the Son of man must suffer many things... be killed, and after three days rise again” (v. 31).
On hearing this, Peter, who had just professed his faith in Jesus as Messiah, is shocked. He takes the Master aside and rebukes him. And how does Jesus react? He in turn rebukes Peter, with very harsh words: “Get behind me, Satan!” — he calls him Satan! — “You think not as God does, but as men do” (cf. v. 33). Jesus sees in Peter, as in the other disciples — and in each one of us! — that temptation by the Evil One opposes the grace of the Father, that he wants to deter us from the will of God. Announcing that he must suffer, be put to death in order to then rise, Jesus wants his followers to understand that he is a humble Messiah, a servant. He is the Servant obedient to the word and the will of the Father, until the complete sacrifice of his own life. For this reason, turning toward the whole crowd there, He declares that one who wishes to become his disciple must accept being a servant, as He has made himself a servant, and cautions: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (v. 34).
To undertake the discipleship of Jesus means to take up your cross — we all have one — to accompany him on his path, an uncomfortable path that is not of success or of fleeting glory, but one which takes us to true freedom, to that which frees us from selfishness and sin. It is necessary to clearly reject that worldly mentality which places one’s “I” and one’s own interests at the centre of existence. That is not what Jesus wants from us! Instead Jesus invites us to lose our life for him and for the Gospel, to receive it renewed, fulfilled and authentic. We are certain, thanks to Jesus, that this path leads us to the resurrection, to the full and definitive life with God. Choosing to follow him, our Master and Lord who made himself the Servant of all, one to walk behind and to listen attentively to his Word — remember to read a passage from the Gospel every day — and in the Sacraments.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 13 September 2015)
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Compiled on 16 September 2018