Pastor’s Letter | 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on septiembre 1, 2023 View all Pastor's Letter

Peter spoke on automatic pilot because he did not want anything bad to happen to Jesus. «God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.»

You tell the Lord you don’t want him to die, and he responds by calling you Satan.1

But Jesus took the words of Peter for what they were: suggesting that Jesus should not fulfil his destiny.

Are your words causing others to stumble?  Peter’s example illustrates how it can happen to even those who have a relationship with Jesus as Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

«Get behind me, Satan,» means «Peter, your place is behind me, not in front of me. “Resume the path of following that [you have] momentarily forgotten.” 2

This was a warning from Jesus to us not to be involved in secular reasoning, especially in anything that could jeopardize our vocation.

The corrective is to support and encourage those facing difficulties or suffering for their vocations that they will be sanctified, but don’t tell them to leave their valid vocations.

Peter tries to be supportive but the mistake was he wanted a God who shields us from our own vulnerability.

But, “suffering like everything else is a God given experience, something that can be creatively used, that makes sense; that to escape suffering may be a way of losing a chance to understand something of great importance to you and consequently for others.”3

‘Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence’, wrote Leon Bloy.4

Physical strength counted for nothing: it was inner strength that counted and this was to be found in unexpected places.

A nun was explaining the Stations of the Cross to her class. They got to the Fourth Station where Jesus meets his Mother on the road to Calvary.  The sister explained that even though they could not talk to each other, mother and son spoke just using their eyes. “What do you think they said to each other? She asked the students. Her class gave many different answers. One kid suggested that she said, “This is unfair.” Another kid said that Mary said, “Why me?” for having to watch the suffering of her son. Finally, a little girl who was feeling sick said, “Sister, I know what the Blessed Mother told Jesus with her eyes. She said to him, “Keep on going, Jesus!”

Our Crosses protect us. If you are stuck in traffic, say, “I may be running late, but God could be protecting me from an accident that would have occurred if I was going faster.”5

Man’s ingenuity has dreamed up many forms of escapism, but none of them offers peace, and in none of them is wholeness to be found…. Our age tries frantically to dull pain with tranquillizers or even hard drugs, but ultimately these ‘answers’ are self-defeating as well as addictive.6

Walter Wink, a Bible scholar, has said that «Satan is yesterday’s will of God.»7

To take up our cross means that we are willing to let go of everything that was true of us yesterday and let God show us who we are today. We need to die to yesterday in order to be raised up today.8

1.     Emily C. Heath-The Christian Century, January 31, 2018

2.     Robyn Whitaker, Robyn, Rebuke or recall?: rethinking the role of Peter in Mark’s Gospel?, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 75 no 4 Oct 2013, p 672

3.     Mary Craig, Take Up Your Cross, The Way, January 1, 1973, p.28

4.     Ibid. Mary Craig, p.26

5.     Joyce Meyer, Overcome Every Dread in your life, Charisma, 11/27, pg. 14

6.     Ibid. Mary Craig, p.24

7.     Ian Liden, Take Up Your Cross, The Way, January 1, 1969, pg. 25

8.     Ibid, pg. 25