Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 16, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Is 50:5-9A / Ps 116 / Jas 2:14-18 / Mk 8:27-35
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The song, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” which was first released in the early seventies, has sold millions of records and CDs worldwide and been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times on iTunes and Google Play. Even Carrie Underwood sang this song when she joined America’s Got Talent.
But scripture scholars would attest that the Lord Jesus would never have said or implied the words of the refrain: “If you don’t know me by now, then you will never, never know me.”
In the gospel that we have just heard, when the Lord asked His disciples the question “Who do people say that I am,” the disciples might have answered in today’s language: “According to the latest survey, 33.3% believe you are John the Baptist, 33.3% say that you are Elijah, and the remaining 33.3% say that you are one of the prophets. Since it is hard for us to know what’s really in their hearts, those percentages are all within the margin of error.”
Fortunately, Peter answered “You are the Christ.” Jesus in reply didn’t say “Good for you, Peter, because if you don’t know Me by now you will never, never know Me.” He knows His disciples and each one of us very well because He is our God. He knows that it will take a lifetime for ordinary mortals to get to know the infinite and eternal God as He truly is. He is always giving us the chance to get to know Him better, from the time we wake up in the morning to the time we sleep at night.
The book of the prophet Isaiah reminds us to “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near.” He is always inviting us to be close to Him and get to know Him better. If we don’t know Him well yet, don’t give up. The more we spend time with the Lord in prayer, read and listen to His living words in sacred scriptures, and talk about Him with our family, friends, and coworkers, the more we will know Him.
Today, we are celebrating Catechetical Sunday. We honor and pray for our brothers and sisters who offer their time and talents to teach the good news. “Catechesis” is from the Greek word which means to echo or resound. We may not do this as an official ministry, but every time we echo God’s words or quote what the Lord God is saying in the sacred scriptures, we are functioning as catechists. For the record, the priests and bishops are catechists; this is our full time ministry.
Our Holy Mother Church needs your help. Here in Holy Name of Mary we are blessed to have deacons and catechists who echo God’s words to children, youth and adults. As we pray for all of them in this Mass, let us also ask the Lord for the power of His Holy Spirit that we may take every opportunity to echo God’s words to the people around us. If you think we don’t know the Lord God as well as we should, don’t let your hearts be troubled. Our desire and willingness to be close to Him and get to know Him better will lead us to love Him more.