Readings and Reflection for February 16, Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

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FIRST READING
“I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis 9: 1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.” Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

The word of the Lord.

FIRST READING
“I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis 9: 1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.” Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA John 6:63c.68c
Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“You are the Christ. The Son of man must suffer many things.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 8:27-33

At that time: Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he charged them to tell no one about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
To begin a new world order after the flood, God blessed the new humanity represented by Noah and his family in almost the same way as he blessed our first parents in the Book of Genesis (1:28-29). God tells Noah, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’ God also makes a covenant with Noah, with the bow in the clouds to serve as sign of the covenant. This bow in the clouds is a sign of God’s bond of union with the new humanity; the old humanity having been washed away by the flood, just as the waters of baptism washes away our sins and makes us new creations. For us, therefore, the sign of the covenant is Christ himself and a firm understanding of his mission is very important. No wonder he asks his disciples their opinion of him after asking them the opinion of others. No wonder too that he rebukes Peter, calling him Satan even though he has earlier called him the ‘Rock’. The fact is that, to be the new people of God, we must be ready to know Christ and his mission of salvation which followed the path of suffering and death. Our knowledge of him will not be complete until we accept that he suffered, died and rose on the third day. Let us realize that without the cross, there can be no crown.

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