22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 30/8/2020 - Gospel: Mt 16: 21-27
The Apostles Community
After Peter's confession that 'Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God' Lk 16,17, Jesus revealed His inner heart to the apostles. It was the first prophecy of His coming passion, death and resurrection. The revelation shocked the apostles to their hearts. They could never have expected to hear what was about going to happen to their Master. They all knew, 'Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God', but they all failed to understand His saving mission. We would all be shocked when hearing our friends tell us that their death is coming within days. We wouldn't hesitate to give words of advice or support. It is a sensible thing  to do. Peter acted as most of us would- telling Jesus what was the deep concern in his heart. Peter's words were not advice, but rather a statement of his deep feeling towards the Master. He had chosen the words with great caution, simply saying to Jesus, 'Heaven preserve you, Lord. This would not happen to you' v.22 . Peter would not understand, that his 'remonstrating' out of love for Jesus would become a roadblock to Jesus' mission. Just as fish couldn't understand why the sea gets angry, Peter couldn't understand why his loving expression upset Jesus. His Passion was beyond the apostles' comprehension. It probably was beyond any logical reasoning for the entire human race. Jesus gave Peter a stern warning, 'Get behind me, Satan v.23'. Children's tablets often have sugar coating; what appears good may not taste so good at all. Jesus reminded Peter that his thought was merely human, 'The way you think is not God's way but man's. v.23. It is inappropriate to approach Jesus' saving mission using 'common sense'. Faith in Jesus requires an act of faith. Without faith, our thoughts and actions would not lead us to appreciate God's work. It is natural we all want to be near a person whom we love dearly. The apostles would love to have Jesus with them all the times, but that would not be the case. Jesus came to this world to show God's love for the world, to die for, and to rescue the human race from damnation.  Jesus came to this world to fix the deadly consequences caused by the first Adam's disobedience - eternal death and destruction. By obeying God, even to the point of death on the cross, Jesus showed the human race that the road to eternal life was to obey God, to do God's will, to carry our daily cross, and to enter by the narrow gate. The other roads were wide open, but they all lead to the dead ends. Jesus' identity as God's Messiah is linked to His earthly mission. God has chosen the mission which required suffering and death before the resurrection. What does it mean to be true of Jesus' disciples?. It means to think, and act, in God's way, not ours. It means to follow Jesus in His footsteps. We are not called to die on the cross like Jesus did. We are called to carry our own daily cross and follow Him. This requirement is a reality for every human being, true believers and non- believers alike, all have to carry their own cross.  Carrying one's own cross is not a choice, but it is the reality of life. The choice is how one carries one's own cross. For Jesus' disciples, our own choice is carrying our cross to follow Jesus, to obey Him and to accept His grace in our life. Each individual Christian carries his/her own cross, but doesn't walk alone, but moves together with other members in the community. When we do that, Jesus is invisible in our midst. This reality needs to be done in humility, in humble service, to serve each other in Jesus' name. It is a call to love and care for humanity. The apostles' community is our model of faith.