Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/06/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Lectionary #410. Aug.6 reflection Ordinary Time
Scripture: Numbers 20:1-13. Psalm 95:1-2.6-7.8-9. Matthew 16:13-23. Lectionary # 410:
Thinking and judging with the mind of Christ as Paul tells us to do in Philippians is a difficult challenge for us. We tend to just rely on our own thoughts even in our spiritual journey of faith. Today Peter offers us an example of both how to think the thoughts of God and then, unfortunately, to fall back into relying solely on our own way of thinking and judging. We all do it whether we admit it or not. Friends and spiritual directors are quite important to lead us through to a deeper way of handling our decisions and our prayer life. Peter, at first, did well in listening to the revelation God gives to him about who Jesus is. He states,”You are the Messiah (the Anointed One, the Christ) and the Son of the living God. As the narrative moves on we see that he cannot handle the thoughts of Jesus which are expressed in the Paschal Mysteries that Jesus begins to talk about to him and the other apostles. It all goes over their heads despite the fact of Peter’s breakthrough. Peter wants Jesus to stop talking about his death on a cross. He does not hear that the resurrection is also part of what Jesus is saying to him. Jesus has to confront him with strong words, “You are judging not by God standards but by man’s.” Mark’s Gospel says the same thing it is primary motivation to the disciples: “Think the thoughts of God and not of man.” Imaging who Jesus is for us is part of our journey of faith and this image necessarily should become more accurately understood as we move on in our journey of faith and prayer. We certainly know the full story and have an advantage over Peter. We know that Jesus has risen from the dead or better said we believe this and make it part of our modus operandi (our way of moving through the day). Here we are with Peter in the correct way of identifying who Jesus is. But who is He for us at this moment? Do we even think of Him in what we do throughout the day? Probably we are more in tune with our own ways of thinking and leave the thoughts of God only for our bedtime prayers. How do we handle people’s criticism of us? What about being rejected by others sometimes even by friends. How do we respond to this? As we grow in faith we realize that Jesus is not simply the Messiah, he is the Suffering Servant of God who shows us how to handle our sufferings, rejections, and illness. We come to realize that we must deny ourselves and our own thoughts and take on the mind of Christ. We also need to realize that Jesus died for our sins–the big ones as well as those nagging little ones we hold on to at the expense of others. When Jesus asks us today who do you say I am, what will be our response? Amen.