In today’s Gospel Jesus gives an insight into the heart of God. He does so by questioning his disciple as to peoples’ opinion of him and then their opinion. Mark tells us that it was Peter who made the profound statement of faith. Peter says to Jesus, “You are the Christ.” While these words are obvious to us, it was a revolutionary statement at the time. Why? The Christ (Greek) or Messiah (Hebrew) was the one the Jews were awaiting since the destruction of Jerusalem. He was to be the one “who would set Israel free.” So, Peter made a profound statement which says that Jesus is that Savior.
The narrative however, goes on to tell us that Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone. At that time people were anxiously expecting a political Messiah and he for certain wasn’t. He then tells the disciples that “the Son of Man will be rejected and put to death and rise from the dead. Peter finds this objectionable and takes Jesus aside and scolds him for saying so. Jesus, we are told, seeing the other disciples near them said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan, because the way you think is not God’s way…” He rebukes Peter, calling him Satan (Tempter)for not seeing things as God wants him to.
What is God’s way? It’s the way of loving to the very end. “Man’s way is loving only those who love us. Man’s way is loving up to a point. God’s way is loving to the very end of one’s life. God’s way is loving all the way. But can we do it God’s way? Yes, we can only by asking Jesus to give us the grace to think God’s way and not man’s. God help us.
Fr. Clement Paul.