The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.09.03
In Good Company
The most salient point we should take from this reading is not:
The prophecy of Jesus regarding his death in Jerusalem, and the resurrection that followed, this is the propaganda of the church.
It is not the suggestion that those who follow Jesus must suffer and die for their faith as Jesus did, this may be true and it may not be true.
It is not the notion that there is a divine quid pro quo, that life is restored to those who sacrifice it, that the economy of salvation is a system of bartering.
It is not the notion that there is a reward waiting for us at the end of days, meted out according to measurable good and bad behavior.
What is important to note is that the disciples, Peter as chief among them, did not understand the mission of Jesus, they rejected it, the scolded him for his intention to follow it, even at the risk of his own life.
Jesus named Peter an enemy, called him Satan, Peter would later deny him.
Peter and the disciples lived with Jesus, they were closer to him than anyone else, they ate with him, prayed with him, walked with him, slept next to him.
Even they were confused about his mission.
If you find yourself confused about the way of Jesus, do not worry, you are in good company
Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour.’
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time