Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today I will accept difficulties with joy.
Lord Jesus, I believe that you came
into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you, and in your power to transform my soul, by your
grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put
you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and
Lord Jesus, help
me to know you and to follow closely after you.
1. A Pop
Jesus asks his disciples a question completely out of the blue: “Who do people say that I
am?” Christ really wants to know who his disciples thought he was. Yet he leads them by degree to
the tougher and more committing questions. The first question – who do people say I am – provokes
thought and is easy to answer; all the disciples participate in the answer. The second question
requires something more. It involves that introspection and self-examination that closeness to
Christ always provokes. Only Peter had the courage to respond. Like the disciples in the Gospel,
throughout our own spiritual journey Christ will give us surprise examinations and pop quizzes –
moments when we, too, will be asked to evaluate who Jesus really is for each of us.
Judging by God’s Standards:
Like the disciples in the Gospel, the closer we draw to Christ, the more
he reveals himself. Once the disciples know and accept Jesus as the Messiah, it is important they
know the type of Messiah he is. Many misconceptions abound, and all conceive of the Messiah in terms
that are all too human. He is not the political liberator who will cast off the Roman dominion and
make life “easy.” Rather, he is the Redeemer of the human person. In no uncertain terms, Jesus makes
it clear to Peter and the disciples that the Messiah is the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, who must
suffer greatly and be rejected.
3. Bound to Christ by the
Peter thought he was doing Christ a favor by trying to dissuade him from the suffering he
predicted would be coming. Yet Peter received the surprise of his life. His well-intentioned but
completely misinformed attempt got him the worst possible rebuke from Christ, “Get behind me,
Satan.” Christ makes it clear that his disciples must be ready to follow in his footsteps. The path
to salvation necessarily leads through the sorrow and joy of the cross.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus, conform my heart to yours. Help me to
value events and things the way you do. Help me
love you above all things and be especially
to follow you when it means a personal sacrifice
or discomfort for me. Sustain me,
Lord in my
efforts to follow in your footsteps.
Today I will accept difficulties with