My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
Why what Peter said brought upon him such a harsh reaction of the Lord? Peter wanted to save Jesus painful death on the cross. Peter wasn’t keen on the whole cross business. Why should he be? Is it pleasant to have suffering, problems, dramas, etc. to deal with? Of course that it isn’t. Jesus wasn’t setting out for Jerusalem because he was enjoying the suffering either. However Jesus’ destination wasn’t the cross. Let’s listen again to what our Blessed Lord said: “Jesus began to make it clear to is disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day.” Jesus was seeing his Resurrection. Peter, on the other hand, was only seeing crucifixion.
Isn’t true that we are like Peter? When we face suffering in its various forms we can’t see beyond that. It obscures our vision. We are like that little boy who was travelling with his mum on the train. His mum kept pointing at the train window: “Can you see the cows and sheep grazing on the hills? Can you see horses galloping along the creek?” But the boy kept responding: “All I can see in the window is my own reflection. I can’t see anything else.”
What is a solution to that situation which brought harsh words on Peter? “Get behind me!” Peter was in the wrong spot. He was ahead of Jesus instead of following him. That’s why he wasn’t looking at what was ahead of him in Jesus’ way but only in his, Peter’s. When we stop following Jesus, when we stop listening to Jesus, when we stop being guided by Jesus we come up with our own, kind of wise ideas which are only an obstacle to see beyond.
Imagine this situation: You have never heard about surgeries. One day you are walking into an operating theatre and you see a heart transplantation. What would be your first reaction? Wouldn’t you think that it is like a butcher shop for blood thirsty humans? You would focus on the scene so much that you wouldn’t even think that those guys standing around the operating table are actually saving somebody’s life. This is the point of the Gospel for this Sunday. Jesus talks about eternal life. He wasn’t going to Jerusalem because he wanted to suffer and die but because he wanted to save us, because he wanted to give us the gift of eternal life. How good it was that he didn’t listen to Peter’s advice but “stubbornly” continued towards the Holy City.
Before I finish this homily I would like to do an activity with you. First think of a cross you are facing at the moment in your life or of the cross somebody close to you is facing. Now close your eyes and listen to the words I am saying. When I stop I want you to say in your head two words which follow where I stop. Here we go: “I believe in One God……” I will say them again and this time say those two words loudly. “I believe in One God FATHER ALMIGHTY.” Look, the God we believe in is FATHER. It means that he not only gave us life but that he takes a big deal of interest in taking care of us. The same God who is our Father is also ALMIGHTY. It means that he can do anything. However anything means that he wants to do anything that can help us to reach the eternal salvation. When we face crosses we start blaming God for being cruel, or indifferent, or we blame him for not existing. I invite you to do it differently from now on. When a cross rises I your life say: “I believe in God the Father Almighty.” We may be still perplexed, confused, about why we need to go through those painful moments but by saying those first word of our Creed we can start growing in faith that what is happening to us doesn’t come from an angry god because our God is Father who cares about us. It doesn’t come from him not being powerful enough to change those painful moment but it comes from him who wants us to possess eternal salvation. Human suffering isn’t a case against God but it is the moment when God stretches his hand to point beyond the cross to the glory of the Resurrection and eternal life.