22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Jer 20:7-9; Ps 63; Rom 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27
Only a moment earlier, Peter had heard praise from Jesus’ lips, and then rebuke and terrible words that he was Satan, that is, God’s adversary. Not insignificantly, the passage from the Gospel of Matthew, read a week ago, ended with the words: “He gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone he was the Christ.” (Matthew 16:20). Jesus knew perfectly well that the disciples did not yet understand who God intended the Messiah to be and how God wanted to save the world. Therefore, if they then began to tell others that Jesus is the Messiah, they would be presenting not God’s plan, but their own interpretations.
I do exactly the same as the disciples. When I know and understand some truth of God, I believe that I know and understand it all. Meanwhile, what I know and what I still need to understand is given to me gradually, slowly, at a pace adapted to my ability to know and trust God’s thoughts and ways.
Sometimes, like Peter, I don’t want to accept some truth that requires me to change my outlook and understanding, that requires conversion. Then I become the enemy of God. Because it is not an easy teaching to accept: about self-denial, about taking up one’s cross and following Jesus – silent, spat on, insulted, betrayed and abandoned by loved ones. It’s hard to trust Jesus’ words about saving your life only when you lose it. About measuring all earthly things by the measure of benefits for the soul and taking care only not to lose it. And constantly remembering that the Son of Man will render to each according to their conduct.
God praises me when I follow His will. However, I can always count on reprimand and the hint that I am moving away from Him. As the best Teacher and Educator, He conveys God’s truths to me and encourages me to enter into even deeper intimacy with Him by renewing my mind. Because thanks to this, I will be able to “discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do”.