24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel according to Mark 8:27-35
“…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." He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."
There’s no doubt that I’ll need plenty of correction between here and Heaven - I’m not perfect. However, when I need correction, I prefer its delivery with a little tact, and certainly not in front of friends. Poor Peter – just a few verses earlier in this Gospel, Jesus asked them all “But who do you say that I am?” and Peter replied correctly, “You are the Messiah”. Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly. The Gospel says that Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him (the Messiah!). Not good! At this Jesus 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.” Ouch!! It was a teaching moment for Jesus and he wanted Peter, and all the disciples, to know that in order to follow him, they would have to stop thinking merely about this life.
It has taken me years to get to this point in life to pause - when something is painful, or I’m inconvenienced by big or small things, or experiencing some other test of faith and patience – and make a conscious effort to discern God’s will in whatever unpleasant thing is happening to me. I’m reminded that Jesus was really (red button) angry when his disciples were not thinking as God does. I’m still working on it but this exercise helps me to re-align my will and my attitude, with God’s will. My perspective and vantage point is very limited but by faith I know that God is working everything out for my good, and in his manifold wisdom, probably for the good of others.