Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27
The Jews of Jesus’ time lived in expectation of a better world, which they would have hoped would not involve suffering. The Disciples also cultivated these hopes. They were convinced that the coming of the Kingdom of God was imminent. They have realized that their master is the Christ, the long-awaited “Son of David”. But they completely misunderstand what this means. They follow him in the hopes of seeing their dreams of glory realized.
In the middle of his public life, Jesus is still teaching his disciples. He is straight with them and tells them he is on the path to Jerusalem to suffer a lot, to be killed, and be raised again on the third day. He does not want them to follow him under false pretences. The disciples find this hard to understand; no doubt they would see the death of Jesus as a failure. Peter cannot accept that Jesus is on the road to failure.He would like to be the one that makes Jesus change his mind. Jesus is not going to listen to this temptation. It may appear that Jesus is very harsh in his response, but he is trying to get Peter to recognise that following him is not an easy path and may not make sense to anyone.
In today’s world one of the understandings of ‘denyingyourself ‘means you stop thinking about yourself and focus on the needs of others. So often this has been made apparent to us through the dedication and goodwill of many during the Covidcrisis. Many even died themselves, giving up their lives and as they worked tirelessly to save other people. Maybe one of the challenges of today’s Gospel is for us to shoulder our cross and learn from Jesus how much God loves us.
Perhaps you are conscious of the weight of the cross now. Ask Jesus to shoulder it with you and teach you how to live with whatever is weighing you down.
Remember a time when you helped someone bear their cross – what did you learn about yourself?
At this time in our world we are conscious of the devastating influence of Covid 19 – this has indeed been a cross for many – What Good News message have you seen come to life during these months.?
Sr. Miriam Weir OP.