REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 12, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus began to teach the Apostles that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Mk. 8:31-33
After Peter had affirmed Jesus as the Christ, Jesus revealed his mission which included suffering, rejection, and death. In revealing his mission, Jesus intended to make clear his mission of bringing good out of this suffering. He would not have allowed this suffering if it were not for some greater good. The hard part is that, to understand this great mystery of suffering, one needs a deep faith.
Peter wasn’t expecting this from Jesus. So, he rebuked Jesus for saying He would suffer. While Peter recognized who Jesus is, he was unable to comprehend or accept the possibility that Jesus’ suffering, death and identity are consistent. So, he took Jesus aside and rebuked Him. Peter’s rebuke was probably in the form of denial that such a thing will befall the Messiah.
Jesus rebuked Peter for thinking in the way he thought. He rebuked Peter because he could not accept HIs teaching about His coming passion and death. Jesus told Peter and the other disciples that He would soon suffer greatly, be rejected by the chief priest, the scribes, and the elders, be killed and then rise on the third day.
Peter was struggling with fear as Jesus explained that He would be entering into much suffering and death at the hands of the religious leaders of the time. Peter loved Jesus and was fearful and anxious about the thought of his Master suffering and being killed. So, Peter, motivated by fear and confusion, tried to “talk some sense” into Jesus.
The result? Peter was rebuked in the presence of the other Apostles by Jesus. Jesus went so far as to say, “Get behind me, Satan.” That must have hurt.
To understand this properly, we must start with the obvious conclusion that Jesus’ words were words of great love. Jesus is not capable of anything other than love. Therefore, we must seek to understand how these strong words from Jesus were loving and holy.
Reflect, today, upon your own struggle with the Cross of Christ. His sufferings continue to be made present in our world through the love and sacrifices of His sons and daughters. When Christians suffer on account of their faith, we must see this from the eyes of God, not the eyes of men. We must see the divine blessings that accompany such sufferings, and we must accept them in accord with the great mystery of God’s plan.
Lord, I too lack the necessary faith to see the blessings that accompany Your Cross, as well as the many crosses I am given in life. Help me to be purified in my faith so that I can see Your hand at work in all things, even suffering, injustice and persecution. May I see life from Your perspective alone. Jesus, I trust in You.