Psalm 62 Response: For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.
Romans 12:1-2 Matthew 16:21-27
The Gospel today is a continuation of last week’s passage. Remember, Peter, who do you say I am? You are the Christ. And Jesus gives him the keys of the Kingdom of God. This week Peter is again shown as impulsive, taking issue with Jesus’ words and receiving a rebuke. This is only incidental to the main point of the story, which is that Jesus revealed that he was to suffer grievously, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Peter’s reaction, though, is instructive for us. Would we have said anything different? It is not easy to be told that your beloved leader is going to be killed, and that to be a follower you might well have to suffer the same fate. Our own life is only of value in terms of our readiness to accept this; knowing that it is the case, anything we do purely four ourselves – ‘saving our life’ – will lead to the opposite conclusion, we will ‘lose’ everything.
Jeremiah in the first reading was someone who did not accept this easily, and complained bitterly about what God’s requirements had imposed upon him. In his case he was a preacher who could not avoid speaking aloud what God had told him, but his message was unwelcome to people and brought down insult and derision on his own head. This is likely to be the case today, when Christian opinions are routinely mocked – a joke rather than a threat. The Psalm response is something of a risk to utter, as it gives us something to live up to. Could we stop at any random moment and say that it was true?
ALAN MAIR (for Journey of Faith)
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