Gospel Reflection Aug 30 – Deacon Paul
Sunday, August 30
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 16: 21-27
Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
“Get behind me, Satan!” This statement by Jesus resonated with me when preparing this reflection, and, I am guessing it might with you as well. With all of the craziness of our world today…the pandemic, social tensions, an election year, abortions, failure of the family,…depending on how we handle these different events in our lives, do you suspect there are times when Jesus might tell Satan to get behind us?
Today, Peter was urging Jesus to do the very thing that the tempter tried to make Him do…to seek power without sacrifice. When Peter takes Jesus aside to try and dissuade Him from His Passion, he was not under divine inspiration but acting out of his impulse and his own thinking, believing that he knew better than Jesus. That may sometimes be our failing also, sometimes we too think we know better than God. We cannot understand why we have a cross.
Our society today has the tendency to be an “obstacle” to the ways of God and “think not as God does” but “as human beings do.” Isn’t it amazing how many people profess to know God and follow Him, yet their thinking patterns are just like those of anyone else in the world? Satan loves that. He wants us to be so absorbed with the ways of the world that we are clueless about what God’s Word says.
Friends, is Christ the master of your life? Have you put to death your own plans and committed yourself to His will for your life? We are invited to follow in His footsteps. Like Jesus, we are to be ready to take up our cross, whatever it might be, and carry it behind Him. Only by uniting our suffering in life to that of Jesus’ cross can we in turn carry our crosses. For it is these crosses that can become opportunities for us to grow closer to Jesus and give Him glory.
-Deacon Paul Zemanek