The first reading narrates the events following the flood. God made a covenant with Noah and God made the rainbow as a sgn of his covenant. The covenant God made is an agreement that was made to Noah and his descendants. Since according to the story, Noah and his descendants were the only survivors of the flood, God's covenant holds to the whole mankind. In fact, it holds true even to the animals that were with Noah. We have seen that God is true to his covenant. Since the time of Noah, there has not been a flood that wiped out the whole human race. This proves that God indeed can be trusted with his promises.
The gospel reading shows us the beginning of a new stage in the relationship of the disciples and Jesus. At this point in time, they did not have to answer the question who Jesus was. Since Jesus had to tell them of his coming passion, Jesus made them answer the question of who he was.
As we see, many people during those times thought of Jesus as a prophet. How similar it is to our times. We see a lot of people say that Jesus was merely a prophet. I remember that sometime in the 70's Jesus was portrayed as a rebel against authority. Some say he was a guru - a wise man who taught about love. But of all the followers of Jesus, only Simon Peter got it right. Jesus is the Messiah - God's Chosen One. However, even in this version of the story, Peter got it half right as we heard in his response to Jesus' teaching on his passion. Peter thought that the Messiah was a political leader whom God sent to deliver them from Roman occupation.
Jesus told them that the Messiah must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes and be killed, and rise after three days. For his followers, the thought of a dying Messiah was unimaginable. But as they focused on his death, they forgot the last part of the prophesy: that the Messiah will rise after three days.
Once we believed in Christ, we have been marked for sufferings. Like our Master, we do not run away from sufferings. We face sufferings and conquer it. We very often forget that Christians are in a spiritual war against evil. The only way to win a war is not to run away, it is to confront he enemy and conquer it. Our Lord has shown us that the only way to conquer death is by confronting it. He had to die so that he can rise from the dead. We too, when we suffer, we do not run away from it, but we face it and go through sufferings because we know that this is the only way to conquer our sufferings.
In our grief and disappointments, we expect to suffer greatly and die, but let us not forget that in three days, we shall rise again. There is always hope in the Lord because God is faithful and he always fulfills his promises in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of the faithful
Let us pray for our bishop, our priests and lay leaders - that the Lord may continue to give them courage to proclaim his word with power - in Spirit and in truth.
Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest that he may send more workers to our diocese to serve him as priests and religious.
Let us pray for people who are suffering. May they remember that your mercy and grace is always there to give them strength.
Let us pray for those who promote and are actively involved in abortion and euthanasia - this includes the media, doctors, nurses, medical researchers, federal and political leaders, teachers and counsellors. That the Lord may open their eyes so that they may realize that they are defiling themselves and have the blood of their victims in their hands.