Reflection on Mark 8.34 – 9.1

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.

As humanity travels along its allotted path there seems to be a growing away from God, rather than a growing towards its creator and loving Father. It is becoming common-place to hear people speaking of ‘lost faith’ and a sense of abandonment. If we believe all that is reported in the media, and sometimes what is preached from our pulpits, we could not help but feel that there is no point in journeying on in faith. For some, this stepping away from God manifests itself in a spirit of shame … shame that hope had once been invested in a God who is no longer seen as caring. Whilst this is the story we often hear told in our modern world, it is based on a false premise; it is, to be frank, a lie!

Those who turn their back on the faith that has sustained this world for so long are those who are ashamed of Jesus and of his words. Those who turn their back on Jesus and his Heavenly Father have, indeed, become an adulterous and sinful generation because they have abandoned the moral compass that points us in the right direction. 

Jesus strived throughout his earthly ministry to show us the way we should be following. Jesus showed us the power of true faith. Jesus led by example. Jesus demonstrated a depth of love that humanity had never seen before. But … all of this was rejected by so many, just as it continues to be rejected today.

For some, the message of the Church is one of redemption and glory for all, but that is yet another false premise. Jesus spoke of the Day of Judgement, the time when we will all be called to give an account of the way we have used or wasted our time on earth. This is not a free pass into heaven, this is a moment when the sheep and the goats, the faithful and the sinful will be separated. At that moment the goats and the sinful will be cast to one side; as they were ashamed of Christ and his words, so the Son of Man will also be ashamed. For many this is a difficult message to grasp. Surely, Jesus came to forgive! 

Yes, Jesus came to bring forgiveness, but not as sweets are handed out at a children’s party. Humanity is called to take his message seriously and to engage with the difficult as well as the easy. The faithful are called to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow … As we continue our journey from the crib to the cross let us pray that we might remain firm in our faith and, when those troubled doubts arise, let us pray that we might turn to the one who came to hold and protect us, Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour of us all.