A Reading from the Book of Genesis (17:17, 15-16)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
> Time period: follows the birth of Ismael with servant girl Hagar.
> “Priestly Author:” does not use the term Yahweh until he is revealed.
> Combined all the gods name into one God.
> Abram means “revered father.” Abraham means “father of many.”
> It may have been because the name was pronounced differently in the new country he moved to.
> God also puts much responsibility on Abraham’s shoulders.
(Psalm refrain to be sung by soloist and repeated by all)
“ I will praise you, Lord,
in the assembly of your people.”
22 Praise the Lord, you that fear him; *
stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;
all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.
23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them; *
but when they cry to him he hears them.
24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; *
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.
25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: *
“May your heart live for ever!”
26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, *
and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.
27 For kingship belongs to the Lord; *
he rules over the nations.
28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *
all who go down to the dust fall before him.
29 My soul shall live for him;
my descendants shall serve him; *
they shall be known as the Lord’s for ever.
30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
the saving deeds that he has done.
> The first part of the Psalm can be used during lent and the stripping of the altar.
> It is a song of lament and then praise for God.
> The Psalm is an affirmation of God’s goodness and mercy.
> There is an expanding circle of people: brothers – assembly – nations – earth – those who have died – unborn.
A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (4:13-25)
The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
> Law vs. faith discussion.
> Uses the “merit of the fathers” argument (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)
> Paul tended to remember and highlight Abraham’s good points, for he indeed doubted God numerous times.
> He tries to explain why the Gentiles are part of God’s family even though they do not follow the Jewish law.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark (8:31-38)
Jesus began to teach his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 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 with the holy angels.”
> Chapter 8 is the “hinge chapter” where Jesus is revealed.
> Up until then it was “Who is this person?”
> Peter solves the mystery by noting “You are the Messiah.”
> This is a new beginning with the announcement the Messiah must be killed, die for three days and rise again.
> This was God’s plan, not man’s plan.
> “Son of Man” term is used in Mark when Jesus refers to himself.
> In regards to “get behind me,” the disciples always walk behind the master.
> With his response, Jesus instills himself as the new master.
> Many people (thousands, tens of thousands or more) were crucified by the Roman army.
> At that time there was a sense of urgency that Jesus would be coming very soon.
> “Life” refers to your very being.