Engaging the Gospel – Matthew 16:21-27

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Matthew 16:21-27

Peter takes issue with Jesus’ prophecy of the Passion

Like Peter, we too want God to fit our own preconceived notions, as Benedict XVI explains:

Peter had not yet understood the profound content of Jesus’ Messianic mission, the new meaning of this word: Messiah.

…He was shocked by the Lord’s announcement of the Passion and protested, prompting a lively reaction from Jesus.

Peter wanted as Messiah a “divine man” who would fulfill the expectations of the people by imposing his power upon them all: we would also like the Lord to impose His power and transform the world instantly. Jesus presented himself as a “human God,” the Servant of God, who turned the crowd’s expectations upside-down by taking a path of humility and suffering.

This is the great alternative that we must learn over and over again: to give priority to our own expectations, rejecting Jesus, or to accept Jesus in the truth of His mission and set aside all too human expectations.

…And it seems to me that these conversions of St. Peter on different occasions, and his whole figure, are a great consolation and a great lesson for us. We too have a desire for God, we too want to be generous, but we too expect God to be strong in the world and to transform the world on the spot, according to our ideas and the needs that we perceive.

God chooses a different way. God chooses the way of the transformation of hearts in suffering and in humility. And we, like Peter, must convert, over and over again. We must follow Jesus and not go before Him: it is He Who shows us the way.

General Audience of May 17, 2006.

Question for reflection: When have I wanted to turn away from the reality of the cross?