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03 set 2023 03/09/2023 - 22nd Sunday in O. T. - year A
03/09/2023 - 22nd Sunday in O. T. - year A
Reading 1 JER 20,7-9 Psalm 62 Reading 2 RM 12,1-2 Gospel MT 16,21-27
Jesus’s revelation for today is not of Peter’s liking, it is too far from his way of thinking, too different from his desires. Jesus has announced that in His life the prophecies involving the Servant of God would be fulfilled, prophecies which are foretelling the suffering, the rejection by the leaders of the people, the violent death and the resurrection.
Regarding the resurrection, it looks like Peter has never even heard of it: it is a notion better left for the end of time, right at the very end. His attention stops on the suffering and the death.
Is it possible for a man who has benefited so many people, has performed so many miracles to the advantage of all sorts of people, who has taught to love God as a father, to be rejected by the very leaders of the people?
Is it possible for a man who has even brought others back from the dead to end up killed? Peter cannot think of that, he does not understand it. In fact, it looks like he does not have much knowledge of the Scriptures, or that he is certain that the Scriptures have to stay unfulfilled for the foreseeable future! So he has the «duty» to disagree: Jesus cannot speak in those terms.
Peter approaches Jesus in private for this, like Jesus had approached the blind or the deaf-mute to heal them. The disciple is trying to be a master for his Lord, he wants to teach Jesus, like He was blind! He is really looking similar to the angel who wanted to take God’s place and became Lucifer!
What does the Lord have to do? Let this slide? The thing is so serious that it cannot be overlooked. Jesus then, with tough and decisive love, deals with Peter the way He had dealt with the devil tempting Him in the desert.
In fact, now is happening here what had happened there: Peter, with his rebuke, is trying to prevent Jesus from fulfilling the Father’s will by suggesting He acts as the Messiah in an easy way, which is awarded approval among men, but which is not about offering oneself as a sacrifice for saving the whole world. Jesus has to remove this thought, and He does so in a way that is visible and understandable for everyone, by removing Peter himself, who was the main instigator.
Then Jesus has to make clear to all the disciples that their path cannot deviate from His: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”.
Whoever want to be with Jesus need to forget about themselves, not to worry about knowing or satisfying themselves, but need instead to get to know Him and take as criteria for their decision making His Word, even when the latter leads to paths of suffering.
The cross is not bad, on the contrary, it is the way to become more similar to Christ Himself. Saint Paul is advising us to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God”: and presenting our bodies means not fulfilling our desires by satisfying our pleasures, but trying to be like Jesus, and like Jesus has taught us to be.
The mentality of the world, which often is ours, is taking us far from God, so it is taking the truest and deepest joy away from us. We will not follow then the way of thinking of the world, the habits and advice coming from outside. We want to follow Jesus and welcome His Word, which becomes light and strength to follow new ways of life. We do this with joy and driven minds. We cannot do otherwise anymore, because, as Jeremiah says, the Lord Himself has seduced us: with His love He almost compels us to think like Him, because we realise that there is where the truth and beauty of life lies.
In primo piano
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