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Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 50:5-9A
Psalm 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
James 2:14-18
Mark 8:27-35
Isaiah˅s proclamation of the Suffering Servant as fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus
exhorts us to take up our cross and follow him.
Today˅s Old Testament reading depicts an inscrutable character of obedience
and faithfulness. This faithful figure accepts the Lord˅s call to be of service to
him and his saving works. Even in the face of excruciating pain and intense trial,
the Suffering Servant remains faithful to the Lord. The Lord God who called him
gives him the strength to triumph and the courage to endure.
The Second Reading underlines the necessity of faithful discipleship and rein-
forces the reality that true faith expresses itself by doing the will of God. Com-
bating the superficiality and pretense of the so-called ˈfaithˉ that was widespread
in his days, James showed the close connection between faith and good works.
ˈFaithˉ is the free acceptance of God˅s saving revelation and ˈworksˉ is the obe-
dient implementation of God˅s revealed will in every aspect of life. For James,
true faith is practical and permeates the entire life, for faith without works is
ˈdeadˉ and will not lead to salvation. Indeed, the way we live in conformity or in
contradiction to our faith is of vital importance. It is the perspective to judge the
value, or lack of it, of our religious commitment to God.
The prophet Isaiah˅s portrait of a faithful Suffering Servant and James˅ exigency
of faithful discipleship is a fitting backdrop for today˅s Gospel reading where Je-
sus, who exemplifies and fulfills the saving destiny of the Suffering Servant,
teaches that whoever comes after him must deny himself, take up his cross, and
follow him. Today˅s Gospel calls us to imitate the faithful stance of the Suffering
Servant, a figure of Jesus Christ. As a faith community, we are to respond to his
invitation to follow him with all that it entails. We are to be ˈfaithfulˉ in our disci-