Vocation Meditation -
August 28, 2011
Used with permission from ChristianComputerArt.Com
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are thinking not as God does, but as humans do."
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone wants to become my follower, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit anyone to gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will anyone give in return for their life?"
"For the Son of Man is to come with his Angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each according to their work."
No sooner had Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, than he received a rebuke from Jesus. Peter's knowledge of Jesus as a suffering Messiah connected to a cross was incredible. Hence, he 'caught hold' of Jesus as if protecting Him from a spiraling and humiliating end unworthy of Him as the apostles' Master and Lord. What did Jesus mean when he uttered the great rebuke to Peter: "Get behind me, Satan!"?
- It was not a personal anger at Peter. It was the cruel force of the temptations he had faced in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. There, Satan tempted him by way of power and material things; by way of sensational acts and by way of compromising with the world. These were the same temptations with which Peter reminded Jesus all over again.
- Luke in his Gospel, mentioned that after the temptations, the 'devil departed him until an opportune time'. Again and again, the tempter launched this attack to persuade Jesus to avoid the cross, the temptation to take another way, away from the Father's will.
- Jesus reminded Peter to 'get behind' Him. Peter is recalled to be Christ's follower. One thing that Satan could never be was to be a follower of Christ. His diabolical pride never allowed him to be behind Jesus, i.e. to submit to Jesus, the God made man! Here, Jesus forcefully reminded Peter to take his proper place as disciple if he wished to embrace the life of the Son of Man, to walk behind Jesus, following Him as would His disciples and friends.
Then, not wanting to lose the image of the cross in His agenda, Jesus gave Peter and His disciples the great challenge of Christian life. Three things are a must:
- They must deny themselves. It is not only giving up of something. It is once and for all to dethrone our self and enthrone God in our life and in our choice. God is our ruling principle, the ruling passion of our life. It is a life of constant assent to God.
- They must take up their cross. Christian life is a life of sacrificial service. Personal ambitions may be abandoned or trimmed best to serve Christ and His Gospel. These will necessitate sacrifice of time, leisure and pleasure through generous service of others.
- They must follow Jesus Christ. Christian life is a constant following of the leader. However challenging, mysterious and engaging are its demands, we must render to Jesus a constant striving to obey His teachings. He is our Saviour. He leads the way to the cross and through it, to life and glory!
"Get behind Me…."
What will I give up each day so that I may courageously walk behind Jesus who takes up His cross for me?
The great rebuke of Peter is a gentle reminder for me to never take the way of ease and compromise when it comes to following You. Sharpen my mind and heart to understand the wisdom of the Cross. May I embrace the challenges along my vocation path to follow You best by taking the road of sacrificial love and of service to those in dire need of Your love. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.