Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Inspired by Mark 8:27-38

“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 the Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38 (NRSV)

This quote is often presented as a test or challenge on social media platforms, with the implication being that if you don’t publicly agree and share this quote on your own platform, then you’re ashamed of Jesus.

Liking and sharing something on social media has little to do with discipleship, and nothing at all to do with what Jesus was talking about.

In the chapter leading up to this quote, Jesus multiplied mere morsels of food enough to satisfy the gnawing hunger of thousands of people, advised his disciples against following the example of the Pharisees with their incessant testing and demanding of signs from heaven, and restored sight to a blind man. He then explained how the Son of Man would suffer and be rejected, and rebuked Peter when Peter denied that this inglorious and harsh reality could happen to his Lord. Jesus then went on to inform his disciples that following him meant humility and self-sacrifice, just as he himself made manifest. It is this humility and self-sacrifice, and the reality that Jesus represents these things, that he encourages people to demonstrate with their own lives.

If you want to follow Jesus, then put the needs of others before your own comfort and self-righteousness. Feed the hungry, bring comfort and healing to the sick, stand in solidarity with the marginalized rather than the powerful, and don’t worry so much about how the world perceives you on social media.

Let us pray. Humble Lord, you came to earth not to live in comfort and celebrity, but to meet us in our weakness and struggles. Enable us to imitate your selfless love, that others may experience your grace in concrete and tangible ways. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.