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Sunday, August 28, 2005
Gospel: Who do you say that I am, Peter?
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We heard those clear words in last Sunday's Gospel and then we see Peter, the first-pope-to-be, answering correctly: "We have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." This is the first proclamation of true faith in the Gospel; someone saw Jesus as more than a man but God.

But, in today's Gospel the story changes slightly with two very important messages:

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."

This probably seems like a colossal misinterpretation of what Peter said. He only wanted the best for Our Lord, right? But then we see the truth in Peter's words. Remember that Jesus Christ was born for one purpose: to die. He was born to die on our Cross and shed His blood for our sins and go into the ground for three days and rise again. The entire purpose the Son of God (truly God Himself too) became flesh was to die for us; Peter right here thinks he is doing good but he is really tempting Christ like Satan tempted Him in the desert. The Cross was meant for us and Christ came to take it away so that all of our crosses might unite with His.

The entire point of becoming man was to save us, and all of us too, from eternal death. It didn't matter if we would go to Mass every week, pray often, or even love Him...He died for us anyway. He died for every single soul in existence no matter how cruel that said soul was, so that he/she might be able to see His face and live in paradise. Now, Heaven still requires work - we must believe and follow the Commandments including attending Sunday Mass, etc.

Jesus must be the foundation of our lives and we must love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul and love our neighbor as ourself. Every sin no matter how small is a wedge between us and God. Let us reflect on our lives and sincerely plan to go to Confession. Let us profess our belief that Jesus is God, but go further and show good works. Let us do as Peter did and say "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" and add one important extention: "I love you."

The most touching point of the homily today was when my priest asked: "So when did Peter finally figure everything out and follow Christ?" It happened right after Jesus was arrested. He was taken and beaten and interrogated and mocked while Peter sat outside. And there Peter denied Christ three times as Our Lord said would happen. And at that moment, Peter looked up and saw Christ and Christ saw Peter; their eyes met...and Peter wept for He knew the truth. The truth is that Jesus Christ died for him too.

With the Year of the Eucharist drawing to a close very soon let us just sit before the Sacred Host for one moment, gaze into it with our heart and say: "Jesus Christ, I adore you."

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain

2 comments:

del_button August 29, 2005 at 10:48 PM
Mike said...

I think we often find ourselves in Peter's postition, don't we? The thought of Jesus suffering and dieing was something he could not permit to happen, as if it was n his power to stop. We ofeten try to avoid our own crosses in life or at least to mitigate them, make them more bearable. After all, why should we suffer? If we just bend this rule and skirt that moral precept, life would be so much easier because after all, God cant't really expect us to live like that. We know better. We have a better, easier and less painful way.
But as Jesus tells Peter here, this is the work of the Enemy, an attempt to place obstacles of our own making in the path of the plan of God.
Lets face it, if we live a truly Christ centered life we are going to run into some difficulty in our lives. But even a cursory examination of concience would reveal to most of us that we have often said with Peter, "God forbid, Lord!" And so we listen to the off color remarks and racist epithets without comment, we take that shortcut on our taxform even though it's not competely honest, we allow a half truth to derail a rival for a job we covet to our advantage and say nothing though we know the truth.
"Get behind me Satan!"

Mike

del_button September 2, 2005 at 1:57 AM
Audrey said...

I agree... our main purpose of being alive is to love God. He put us here to learn how to love, not just loving Him, but to love all His creation and mankind. Our major vocation is to love, just like God loved.

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