Our Gospel this weekend contains one of the most striking contrasts in all of the New Testament. Jesus asks Peter who he thinks He is and Peter says, “You are the Christ”. Peter has it. He understands who Jesus is. Right?
Unfortunately, Peter does not understand Jesus’ mission. He may have some sort of grasp of the fact that He comes from God, but he does not understand why He has come. Jesus did not come for any worldly glory, to overthrow the Romans. He didn’t come to lead the Israelite people against their conquerors like Moses and the Egyptians. His mission was to suffer and die and rise again for us to open the gates of heaven. How easy it must have been for Peter to misunderstand Jesus and why He came to earth.
None of us likes to see our loved ones suffer, and certainly not to be put to death. Yet, that is what Jesus is telling Peter. At the heart of who He is and why He has come is His Passion. After Peter’s confession of who Jesus is, Jesus tells him the heart of His mission. So, Peter, who loves our Lord, takes Jesus aside and actually rebukes Him. “No Lord, you will not die”. Peter doesn’t want his friend to die.
This is where Jesus tells Peter, ‘Get behind me Satan.” Jesus certainly does not mix words here. You would think that our Lord would maybe sit Peter down and explain His mission with compassion and understanding that Peter doesn’t get it. But no. Jesus rebukes Peter so harshly and refers to him as Satan. Can it get any worse??? Yet Jesus’ rebuke of Peter goes to the very heart of belief in Him. The Passion of Christ is the central point. We cannot take the cross out of our faith. We can’t be Christian without attaching all of our passions to His Passion. We cannot be Christian without taking up our cross and following Him.
We need to stop watering down our faith to just nice words that Jesus says in the New Testament. Having the “Rosy” mentality of our faith is doing the same disservice that Peter had when rebuking Christ. Peter wanted the happy go lucky ending - Jesus restoring the garden of Eden and everything is just swell. Jesus teaches us that He, with the Father and the Holy Spirit exist in the REAL and how to live authentically Catholic lives. Let us pray for an authentic faith. Let us embrace our crosses and follow Him to His Passion. Great joy awaits in heaven for those who do.
Last weekend, surveys were made available in the pews. This is your opportunity to be heard. We would like your feedback. This initiative is being organized by our Revive! Renew! Rejoice! Group. They have been working hard to make a difference at Visi. The survey will be available this weekend in the pews and on our website.
May the Lord give you His peace,