September 30, 2016


September 30, 2016:  St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor

  • 'Roads' tie:  "Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way" (psalm) (trumps "doctor's office" tie for St. Jerome, 'doctor' of the Church)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "I put my hand over my mouth" (1st reading); "Your hand shall guide me" (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  God's questions to Job (1st reading)
  • 'Seal' tie pin:  "The earth is changed as is clay by the seal" (I know it's not that kind of seal, but...) (1st reading)
  • White shirt:  color of St. Jerome's memorial


For 1st reading

For St. Jerome
For Psalm 139
  • Jb 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5  Lord to Job:  "Have you commanded the morning?  Have you walked about in the depths of the abyss?  Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?  Tell me where light and darkness dwell!? / "I'm of little account; what can I answer?  I won't speak again."
  • Ps 139:1-3, 7-10, 13-14b  "Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way."  Lord, you formed me and know me:  my actions, thoughts, journeys, ways.  Wherever I go, your hand shall guide me.  Thank you that I'm wonderfully made.
  • Lk 10:13-16  “Woe to you, Chorazin and Bethsaida!  If the mighty deeds you saw had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented.  Capernaum, you will go down to the netherworld.  Whoever listens to you listens to me, but whoever rejects you rejects me and the one who sent me.”
St. Jerome
  • Universalis:  St. Jerome, unwillingly ordained a priest, founded monastery, hospice, and school, translated Bible into Latin, wrote many works, including letters and commentaries on Scripture, and helped refugees and those in need.
    St. Jerome/ Spada
    (See below re skull)
  • Creighton:  I must let go!  God knows every detail about us, our thoughts, our comings and goings, steps...  But we may think we're the ones who know what we'll be doing and leave God out.  We must let go of loved ones, possessions, and control; to do that, we need to rest in God’s presence. Imagine being aware of God’s complete control, relaxing during times when the noise of a situation is all you can hear, and your mind wants to take charge. Pause, remind yourself God has this, and let God open your fist, place his hand into yours, and lead. The more we open our hands to hold his, the more we'll realize how much better the outcome will be. My prized possessions are my family members.  God will never let go of me.  As I learned to relax, knowing God takes care of me, I become more aware of his care for my prized possessions.  I've tried to hide from people, but God won't allow that to happen.  Letting go of the past and accepting what is, as God has planned it, opens me to learn how I can be more supportive for others.  Our security is in God's presence, not our possessions and control.  God reminds us to trust him...
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Hate the sin and love the Church of sinners":  God's ways and thoughts are high above ours (Is 55:8-9).  We must say with Job, "I'm of little account; what can I answer You? I put my hand over my mouth."  But the Lord has decided to speak through his Church of weak, limited human beings.  The Lord has made his Church "pillar and bulwark of truth," his Body, his bride.  The Lord loves, gave his life for, and exalts the Church.  We're turned off when we see the Church full of sinners, not naturally lovable, but the Spirit graces us to love this human Church....
  • Passionist:  In space and time, each of us is very small, as a grain of sand in a vast desert.  We, with our weaknesses, sins, and limitations, are of little account.  A rabbi explained that God is not seen as much now because “no one bows low enough.”  But after long dialogue with God, Job bowed low enough; then he regained his possessions and peace of mind.  “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble....”
  •  "He who hears you hears me":  If Jesus were to visit your community today, would he issue a warning, and how would you respond?  Jesus did mighty works to show people how much God had for them.  Chorazin and Bethsaida had been blessed; they heard good news and experienced Jesus' wonderful works, but he was sorrowful for them, likely because they were indifferent.  Repentance demands change of heart and ways. Jesus' anger is directed toward everything which hinders us from doing God's will and receiving his blessing. How do I receive God's word?

September 29, 2016


September 29, 2016:  SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

Find 16+ connections with today?
Legend below

The work of all who represent workers in the field, who help refugees safeguard their dignity, reflects God’s mercy and is a sign that evil doesn't have the last word.  Arms and oppression, hidden interests, and violence still wreak devastation, and we haven't been able to end the suffering and human rights violations.
Violence begets violence, and we feel caught up in a spiral of arrogance and inertia.  This evil that grips our will and conscience should challenge us.  Why do people continue to abuse power and seek revenge and violence?  The recent attack on a UN humanitarian convoy is an experience of the mysterium iniquitatis, evil in people and history that needs to be redeemed.
Fix your gaze on Christ, Mercy incarnate, who conquered sin and death.  "The limit imposed upon evil, of which man is both perpetrator and victim, is ultimately the Divine Mercy" (Pope St. John Paul II).  The answer to the drama of evil lies in the mystery of Christ.
    • Dn 7:9-10, 13-14  The Ancient One took his throne, clothing and hair bright; thousands ministered to him.  One like a son of man came on the clouds of heaven, was presented before the Ancient One and received kingship.  His dominion is everlasting; it won't be taken away.
    • Rv 12:7-12ab  War broke out between Michael and his angels and the dragon.  The dragon, the ancient serpent called Satan, was thrown to earth,  From heaven:  “Salvation and power have come, and God's Kingdom, and his Anointed's authority.  The accuser of our brothers is cast out, conquered by the Blood of the Lamb.  So rejoice!”
    • Ps 138:1-5  "In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord."  I'll thank you, for you heard me; I'll worship at your temple.  You've made your name and promise great and built up strength within me.  All kings shall thank you and sing of your glory.
    • Jn 1:47-51  Jesus re Nathanael:  “Here's a true child of Israel, with no duplicity.”  Nathanael / Jesus:  “How do you know me?” / “I saw you under the fig tree.” / “Rabbi, you're the Son of God, King of Israel.” / “You believe because I saw you under the fig tree?  You'll see greater things.  You'll see heaven opened and God's angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
    • St. Gregory's famous homily on the Archangels:  “Angel” denotes function, not nature. Heavenly spirits are only called angels when they deliver a message; archangels are the ones who proclaim supremely important messages, as Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary the greatest of all messages.  Some angels are given names to denote the service they perform.  Whenever a powerful act must be performed such as battling Satan, Michael is sent, making clear no one can do what God does.  So too Gabriel, "God's strength," was sent to Mary to announce the humble One who would quell the cosmic powers.  Raphael, "God's remedy," touched Tobit’s eyes to banish the darkness of his blindness.
        I tre Arcangeli e Tobias/ Botticini
      • Creighton: All scriptural references to angels point beyond angels to God.  'Angel' (ἄγγελος, 'messenger') points to the Sender, God. Each of today's archangels' names is a sentence about God:  'Mi cha el' (“Who is like God?”), 'Rapha el' (“God heals”),  'Gabri el' (“God is my strength”); all say “What I do is not about me but what God is doing through me.”
      Today's gospel is business of angels pointing beyond themselves is wonderfully illustrated in today’s gospel reading, Jesus encounter with Nathanael (whose name also points to God:  “gift of God”) says, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel,” Jewish names for the expected Messiah, but not yet confession of divinity.  Jesus subtly corrects him:  “You [plural] will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man,” alluding to Jacob's dream of a stairway, between earth and heavens, with God's messengers (angels) going up and down. When Jacob awakens, the Lord repeats to him the promise to his grandfather Abraham, about his descendants becoming a blessing to all; Jacob then observes “this place is God's house, heaven's gate.”  Jesus applies Jacob's dream to himself as Son of Man, the one who fulfills Daniel's vision of “one like a son of man” inheriting God's kingdom.  The dream points to the incarnation:  Jesus, Word made flesh, risen Lord, the temple of God, is the ultimate connection between heaven and earth.  May we appreciate Christ our Lord as the “place” of full connection between divine and human, the new embodiment of all the tabernacle and temple stood for. This feast helps us join the angels praising God for our redemption in Christ.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Lives that need angels":  The Lord wants to show his love for you by sending archangels and other angels to be more active in your life.  For that, we need lives of discipleship, deep and courageous love, holiness, and evangelization, in which the Holy Spirit is active.  When the Spirit is moving, Michael wields his sword, Gabriel announces God's message, and Raphael guides and heals....
      • Passionist:  “Angels are created spirits without bodies” (Baltimore Catechism 35).  “The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels” (42).  “Everything said about [angels] in the Bible proclaims the marvelous truth:  God is concerned for us in a thousand ways.  The names of the angels tell us this.  Gabriel means 'strength of God'; Raphael, 'God’s healing'; Michael, 'Who is like God'” (“Dutch Catechism”).  I can't develop scholarly reflections on archangels, but I can experience God’s love.  May the angels always be with us and walk happily with us into the arms of God.
        Vision of the Son of Man
        Jackson with contributions by Hart
        © 2005, The St. John’s Bible
        St. John’s Univ., Collegeville, MN
      •  "You'll see the angels of God":  In meeting with Nathanael, Jesus reveals how God looks at each of us and invites us into communion with him.  Nathanael was startled Jesus knew and understand him before he said anything.  The fig tree was a symbol of God's peace and blessing; it provided shade and refreshment for prayer and reflection.  Rabbis gathered their disciples under its shade to teach them from Scripture; they said, "He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit."  Maybe Nathanael was reflecting on the promised Messiah King and drifted into a nap like Jacob.  It was revealed to him that Jesus was the Messiah, "Son of God, King of Israel,"  Jesus offered him the gift of friendship with God and access to his throne.  In Jacob's dream God opened a door that brought Jacob and his people into a new relationship with God; God revealed his angelic host and the throne of heaven and promised Jacob that he and his descendants would dwell with God.  
      Angels are God's servants and messengers, "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to his voice," "ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation."  They belong to Christ and were created for and through him.  They also protect and guard:  "He will give his angels charge of you to guard you."  The armies of heaven fight for and with us and with us in the spiritual battle for our hearts, minds, and wills.
      Jesus promises Nathanael he'll be the ladder that unites earth with heaven; he proclaims he's the fulfillment of the promise to Jacob.  Jesus is the true stairway to heaven; in his incarnation and life, "things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human" (Exsultet, referring to Easter).  Jesus opens the way for us to come into a new relationship with God as his children; he opens the way for us to "ascend to heaven" and bring "heaven to earth" in our daily lives. God's kingdom is present in those who seek him and do his will....
        • Michael ("Who is like God?") is mentioned in Rv as leader of the heavenly host.  Patron of soldiers
        • Gabriel ('God's strength') appears in Dn to explain some of the prophet’s visions, and was also the bearer of the Annunciation to Mary.
        • Raphael ('God heals'):  In Tb, he heals Tobit of his blindness.
      Dress legend
      • 'Fire' pin:  His throne was flames of fire... (1st reading)
      • White shirt:  Today's liturgical color; the Ancient One's clothing was bright as snow, hair was white as wool (1st reading)
      • 'Serpent' tie pin:  Ancient serpent (alt. 1st reading)
      • 'Heart' pin:  I'll thank you, Lord, with all my heart (psalm)
      • 'Angel' pins:  Today's 3 archangels.  "In the sight of the angels I'll sing Your praises" (psalm).  "You'll see God's angels ascending and descending" (gospel)
      • 'Crowns' tie:  His kingship shall not be destroyed (1st reading); All kings shall thank you (psalm); "You're the King of Israel" (gospel)
      • 'Blood drop' pin, 'lamb' tie bar:  They conquered the Accuser by the Blood of the Lamb...  (alt. 1st reading)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  When I called, you answered (psalm)
      • 'Tree' pin:  "I saw you under the fig tree" (gospel)
      • 'Lamb' tie bar:  "They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb" (alt. 1st reading)

      September 28, 2016

      Sept. 28

      September 28, 2016:  Wednesday, 26th week, Ordinary Time

      See 16 connections with today?
      Legend below


      For gospel
      For Psalm 88
      Pope Francis Audience
      Jesus’ words during his Passion culminate in forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing.”  For the good thief, these aren't mere words; Jesus truly forgives him.  The bad thief can't conceive that the Messiah would remain on the Cross, but remaining on the Cross is how Jesus offers everyone salvation.  This Jubilee Year is a time of grace and mercy for all, a time to remember nothing can separate us from God's love.  To the sick, imprisoned, or who are trapped by war, let us look to Christ Crucified, God with us, who remains with us on the Cross and offers himself as our Savior.  The good thief helps us understand we should approach God with awe, not fear, with respect for God’s power and goodness.  When we approach Him in this way, we entrust ourselves to His mercy, even in the darkest of moments.  God is always with us sinners and loves us even to death.  Let us imitate the good thief's confidence in the Lord, call on Jesus’ name, and ask him to remember us in Paradise.
      • Jb 9:1-12, 14-16  Job:  How can a man be justified before God?  God is wise and mighty; he made the stars and does marvelous things.  How could I argue with him, even if I were right?  If he answered me, I couldn't believe he'd hearken to my words.
      • Ps 88:10bc-15  "Let my prayer come before you, Lord."  Why do you reject me; why hide your face?
      • Lk 9:57-62  To Jesus:  “I'll follow you wherever you go.” / “Foxes have dens and birds nests, but the Son has nowhere to rest his head.” / “Let me go bury my father first.” / “Let the dead bury their dead; go proclaim the Kingdom.” / “First let me say farewell to my family.” / “No one who looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom.”
        • Creighton:  Tensions are a part of every relationship. Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Amos for example were interrupted, invited, and put in tension.  In today's gospel Jesus invites three persons who seem willing.  One is challenged to reflect that Jesus' followers won't have a place to call home, one has to care for his father, and one wants to say goodbyes, but Jesus doesn’t want to give them time; they're not ready in their minds, giving excuses from their identity and relationships.  When we're invited, it's natural to consider whether the invitation will cost us time or money, or require change or letting go.  The invitation is the rope, the tension from the tugs of selfishness and generosity.  Relationships are invitations that force us to respond or react.  We don't know the consequences of our responding. Jesus asks that we listen to our selfish inclinations pulling us one way and our good hearts the other...
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Quite a following":  Jesus calls us to total, immediate, permanent commitment.  To many such commitment seems unreasonable, but it's actually beyond reason, as God's ways are beyond ours. To follow the Lord is to walk in unknown regions, for unknown reasons, to walk by faith, not sight.  Love is the only reason to follow Jesus on his terms....
        • Passionist:  A disciple's life requires all or nothing!  We have so many things calling for attention; it's hard to stay close to our commitment to Jesus, but the call to follow Jesus is the most rewarding.  Jesus walks with us, listens, picks us up when we fall, and loves us.  Jesus' disciples didn’t really know what they signed up for, nor do we, but they came believe in the power and goodness of the Caller.  May we continue to say yes and invite others to...
        •  "Fit for God's kingdom":  The Lord calls and gives grace to respond and strength to follow through.  Jesus was clear about the cost of discipleship; he told these people to detach from what might hold them back.  Detachment frees us to give ourselves to and serve the Lord; we must be willing to part with whatever might impede us from doing God's will.  The one saying he'd follow once he buried his father meant that he wanted to take care of his father till he died. One just wanted to go back and say good-by. We're free to decide whether we'll follow Jesus' path, but if we do, then the Lord wants us to count the cost.
        A plowman has to look straight ahead to keep the plow on course; looking back makes the line he cuts into the soil crooked and eventually messes up the whole field.  If we look back on what we've left behind to follow the Lord, we'll likely miss what God has for us. 
        St. Lorenzo Ruiz
        God's grace is sufficient and his love strong. We can do nothing greater than put ourselves at the Lord's service.  He offers us peace, joy, love, friendship, and life.  What's holding you back?  "Take, Lord, and receive my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my will.  You've given me all I am and all I possess.  I surrender it to you to be disposed of according to your will.  Give me only your love and your grace; with these I'll be rich enough and desire nothing more." (SpEx §234)
          • SS. Lorenzo Ruiz (1st Filipino martyr) and companions Dominic Ibañez de Erquicia, Francis Shoyemon, James Kyushei Tomonaga, Michael Kuroboiye, Lucas Alonso of the Holy Spirit, Matthew Kohioye of the Rosary, Antonio González, William Courtet / Thomas of St. Dominic, Niguel de Aozaraza, Vincent Schiwozuka of the Cross, and Lázaro of Kyoto, martyrs
        Dress legend
        • Dark shirt, tie, suspenders:  Job's dark story (1st reading)
        • 'Earth' on tie:  "God shakes the earth out of its place" (1st reading)
        • 'Star' tie pin:  He seals up the stars and made the constellations (1st reading)
        • 'Heart' pin:  God is wise in heart (1st reading)
        • 'Sun' pin:  God commands the sun (1st reading)
        • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "Should he come near, I don't see him" (1st reading); "No one who looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom." (gospel)
        • 'Phone' tie bar:  "Daily I call upon you, Lord" (psalm)
        • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "Will you work wonders for the dead?" (psalm); "Let the dead bury their dead" (gospel)
        • 'Bird' tie pin:  "Birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (gospel)
        • 'Hand' tie pin:  “No one who sets a hand to the plow...” (gospel)
        • 'Blood drop' pin:  The martyrs we remember today
        • Green on tie:  Ordinary Time season

        September 24, 2016

        Sept. 24

        September 24, 2016:  Saturday, 25th week, Ordinary Time

        • 'Hearts' tie:  "Let your heart be glad in your youth.  Follow the ways of your heart." (1st reading)

        • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "Follow the vision of your eyes" (1st reading)

        • 'Clock' pin:  "1,000 years are as a watch of the night to you" (psalm)

        • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "Teach us to number our days" (psalm)

        • Green shirt and blazer:  Ordinary Time season

        Pope Francis

        To two Argentina dioceses:  God has remained faithful, giving you shepherds, from the first bishop to now; many priests and consecrated persons have given their lives to make Christ present among you.  This fills me with joy.  Be attentive to the Lord passing before you, and help him present in those oppressed, exploited, disillusioned, sick, or suffering because of any other needs.  After the volcano damage came the cloud of solidarity and a renewed effort to move forward.  You express "creative solidarity."
        To Hospital Sisters of Mercy:  You're a concrete sign of how to express the Father’s mercy.  In the face of illness-caused weakness, distinctions of social status, race, language, and culture can't exist.  We all become weak and must entrust ourselves to others.  The Church is committed to all who suffer.  Persevere in your work, despite difficulties you face.  A secularist culture aims to remove religious references even from hospitals, including the Sisters themselves, but never tire of being friends, sisters, and mothers to the sick.  Prayer is the lifeblood that sustains your evangelizing mission.  Jesus is always present in the person suffering in the hospital bed.  Closeness to Jesus, and to the weakest, is your strength.
          • Eccl 11:9-12:8  Rejoice and remember your Creator while you're young.  God will bring you to judgment.  Youth is fleeting.  All things are vanity!
          • Ps 90:3-6, 12-14, 17  "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge."  You turn us back to dust.  1,000 years are as a watch of the night to you.  Teach us to number our days and so gain wisdom.  Return!  Fill us with your kindness.  Care for us and prosper our work!
          • Lk 9:43b-45  Jesus to disciples:  “The Son of Man is to be handed over.”  But they didn't understand and were afraid to ask.
            • Creighton:  Jesus' miracles inspired and amazed the disciples, but with his deeds came the prophesy of his betrayal, suffering, and death.  The disciples had a different notion of the Messiah and so were confused, but they were afraid to ask.  We can rationalize or reject what we don't want to know.  We can hear God but not respond.  We can pay more attention to noise around us than to the Spirit's whisper.  We know the consequences of accepting or rejecting God's word; our challenge is to live faithful to it, knowing it'll include the cross.
            • One Bread, One Body:  "Destroying death":  The author of Ecclesiastes, written before Jesus, is naturally pessimistic.  For him, death almost ruins life.  We're tempted to trivialize life by living for pleasure, giving our allegiance to the present age, but that makes us slaves.  Death can make life a living death.  Living for Jesus defangs death.  "Death is swallowed up in victory."
              Our Lady of Walshingham
              from shrine
            • Passionist:  "Provocateur of the Cross":  I think Jn 15:9 is amazing, likening the Lord's love for us to the stupendous love between the Father and Jesus.   May “you, rooted and grounded in love, have strength to... know the love of Christ,... that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”  Devotion to the Passion is dangerous because it exposes us to the radiation of God’s care for us.  St. Vincent Strambi, CP was a provocateur of God’s fondness for the world!  Many think God is too big to care about us, but the cross shows us the opposite.  Lack of humility is our greatest obstacle to the Lord's gifts.  We only experience God if we beg for His mercy.  The mystery of the Cross is revealed to little children.
            •  "They were astonished at God's majesty":  Ascribing majesty is acknowledging and respecting greatness.  Jesus' miracles revealed God's power, majesty, favor, and grace, especially towards the lowly.  But Jesus warned there's share in God's glory without the cross. Jesus prophesied his crucifixion.  His disciples thought the Messiah would free people from tyranny and oppression, but they didn't know the way to victory would be through the cross and resurrection, and they didn't want to know more about the consequences of death on a cross.  How could the cross bring victory and lead to new life and freedom?  Lord, show us your glory that we may grow in reverence of you and your word.
              • Our Lady of Walsingham:  In a vision, the Virgin Mary told the lady of the Walsingham manor to build a replica of the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation took place.
              • St. Stephanie, martyr at 18 with 500 others

            September 23, 2016

            Padre Pio

            September 23, 2016:  St. Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest

            • 'Clocks' tie:  "There's an appointed time for everything" (1st reading)
            • 'Rock/stone' tie pin:  "Blessed be the Lord, my Rock" (psalm); "There's a time to scatter, and gather, stones" (1st reading)
            • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "There's a time of peace" (1st reading)
            • 'Plant' pin:  "A time to plant" (1st reading)
            • 'Question mark' tie pin:  "Who do the crowds say I am?  What about you?"  (gospel)
            • Crucifix:  "The Son of Man must suffer, be rejected, and be killed..." (gospel)
            • 'Blood drop' and 'nail' pins:  Padre Pio's stigmata
            • White shirt:  liturgical color for St. Pius/Padre Pio

              "A time for everything"
            • Eccl 3:1-11  There is an appointed time for everything:  to be born/die, plant/uproot, kill/heal, tear down/build, weep/laugh, mourn/dance, scatter/gather stones, embrace/not embrace, seek/lose, keep/cast away, rend/sew, be silent/speak, love/hate, be at war/peace.  God has made everything appropriate to its time, and put the timeless into our hearts, without our discovering his work.
            • Ps 144:1b, 2abc, 3-4  "Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!"  God is my mercy, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield.  We're like a breath...
            • Lk 9:18-22  Jesus / disciples:  “Who do the crowds say I am?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, or an ancient prophet.’” / “But who do you say I am?”  Peter: “The Christ of God.”  He directed them not to tell anyone.  “The Son must suffer, be rejected, be killed, and be raised.”
            Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia capsule:  Passionate love
            Vatican II teaches that conjugal love “embraces the good of the whole person; it can enrich the sentiments of the spirit and their expression with dignity and ennoble them.”  So love lacking pleasure or passion doesn't fully symbolize the union of the heart with God:  “Supernatural and heavenly love find the symbols they seek in marital love, rather than in friendship, filial devotion, or devotion to a cause, because of its totality.”  Why not speak of feelings and sexuality in marriage?  (IV:142)
                  • Creighton:  "The ‘Time’ of our lives":  There's time for birth, death and all in between:  sickness, joy, sorrow, trials, peace, penance, mercy, consideration of others (poor, sick, dying, addicted....)...  No matter the ‘time’, God is loving, forgiving, and merciful....
                  • One Bread, One Body:  "Crowded conditions":  Jesus asked his disciples who the crowds thought he was before asking who they thought he was to show we must separate ourselves from the crowd to truly acknowledge him as the Messiah, Lord, and God.  Crowd-pleasers aren't God-pleasers. The crowd helped crucify Jesus, and it hasn't changed. Don't be a crowd-pleaser, set on things the crowd runs after.  The crowd will see this as a judgment against it, and we'll be unpopular, rejected, hated, and persecuted.  Follow Jesus; leave the crowd behind.

                  • Passionist:  Jesus asks his disciples who people were saying he was, then asks them, “who do you say I am?”  Peter says, “The Messiah of God,” then Jesus says, “The Son of Man must suffer, be rejected, be killed, and be raised.”  He acknowledges Peter’s confession, then says how he'll be Messiah:  by sacrifice to the point of death, followed by resurrection.  People were expecting a different kind of Messiah, and even the apostles had trouble understanding.  Understanding Jesus’ death as an act of redemption helps us understand God doesn't promise to remove all our difficulties but rather that he'll get us through them.  Can we live in hope, and so tell the world who we say Jesus is?
                  •  "Who do you say that Jesus is?"  Many recognized Jesus as a man of God, like the great prophets.  Peter spoke professed that Jesus was the "Christ of God," "the Son of the living God"; only God could have revealed that.  Through the eyes of faith, Peter recognized Jesus as more than a teacher, prophet, and miracle worker.  'Christ' (Greek) and 'Messiah' (Hebrew) both mean 'Anointed One.'
                  Why does Jesus tell the disciples to keep quiet?  "There were things yet unfulfilled that must also be included in their preaching:  the passion, the cross, the death in the flesh, the resurrection, that glorious sign that testifies that he's truly God....  He destroyed death and destruction, robbed hell, overthrew the enemy, took away sin, opened heaven to earth dwellers, and united earth to heaven; these proved him to be God.  So he commanded them to guard the mystery until the whole plan would arrive at a conclusion" (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 49, paraphrased).  Jesus won eternal life and freedom for us through humiliation, suffering, and death.  To share his victory, we must take up our cross and follow him.  Who do you say Jesus is?