16th FEBRUARY 2023



Gn 9: 1-13;                 Ps 102: 16-23, 29;                  Mk 8: 27-33




In the first reading today, Noah has been saved from the flood of destruction that the Lord brought on a wicked and disobedient world. And as Noah looked out on a world that had been devastated by a flood, there wasn’t a sign of life anywhere, other than on the ark itself. As they disembarked, there was fear, as well as gratitude. And in his great mercy, God then told Noah what he could expect in this new world. God commissioned him to populate the earth and be a good ruler. God ensures that in his dominion, mankind does not succumb to the temptation to destroy life. Whether we consider ourselves to be wicked or good, we all have evil tendencies and must be reminded of the value of life. Life is precious to God. It was not by a mere whim that God destroyed so much of his creation. His justice is balanced with mercy and hope. And in his justice and his mercy, God demonstrates the value of life.

In today’s gospel reading Jesus poses a question to his disciples about himself: Who do people say that I am? For this Peter’s inspired answer was: “You are the Messiah” and Jesus hopes of building his Church on this Rock. But within a short time Jesus tells Peter: Get behind me, Satan. We have to sympathize with Peter because Jesus asks us the same question regularly, and we mess up in the same way Peter did. Where do we go wrong?

As Christians, our faith is not purely personal and internal. It has to show itself in practice. Whether we are seeing God’s mercy or his justice in our lives, we must know that our lives are valuable to him. Life for Peter, God gives us opportunities every day to rebuild our life according to his will. He extends his mercy to us. But he also requires justice when we choose to walk away from his plan. There is a balance between God’s justice and his mercy. And that balance is there because our lives are so very precious to him. God wanted Noah and Peter to understand this. And he wants us to understand this too.

Response: The Lord looked down from heaven to the earth.

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