Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. 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.”
This is a very important scripture, most will be familiar with Matthew’s Gospel account which clearly gives more detail of St. Peter’s role in the Church. The foundation of the Church rests on Jesus teaching.
In reading this passage today, I am reminded of Matthews account, but I also take away the following.
St. Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ, the annointed one of God, the Messiah. It was very difficult for the Apostles to see Jesus as the suffering servant.
Many had believed and hoped that the Messiah would bring back the glory days of King David, that the Messiah would be an earthly King that would liberate the nation of Israel.
St. Peter’s reaction to the cross would be typical for anyone longing for the liberation of Israel.
St. Peter was given revelation of who Jesus is, we benefit from this knowledge and like St. Peter, we profess Jesus to be the Christ every time we proclaim the Creed.
Yet, like Peter was told, “get behind me, Satan“, Jesus is saying this to anyone who rejects Catholic teaching.
For those who are willing to compromise with the world and accept teachings contrary to the Church, Jesus is telling them, “Get behind me, Satan“.
The Catholic Church is the foundation of God’s word, it is the vehicle Christ speaks to the world, it is his voice.
When we reject the Magisterium, dissent from official Church teaching, then we become like St. Peter who wanted to lead Christ away from the cross.
We must be willing to follow Jesus and that means we much carry our cross. We are called to follow the road of the cross. To follow the voice of the Lord.
Jesus said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). “Jesus also said , “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:8).
Jesus speaks through His Church. St Paul wrote, “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
If a person wants to follow Christ, the sure way is through his holy Catholic Church. We are to pick up our cross and follow the Lord. His will be done.
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