Jesus told his apostles about the suffering he would endure. Peter, speaking for the group, simply couldn't believe that the great Messiah who would save Israel would have to go through such degrading events. Peter was thinking only in human terms and not about God's ways.
Reflection for Families
Like most parents, we try to protect our children from life's crushing blows, or at least hold them off as long as possible. It hurts us to see our children suffer disappointments, rejections, losses or defeats. Sometimes the easier choice is the one that goes unnoticed. For example, a teen pregnancy that ends in abortion receives less attention than carrying the baby full term. Or not trying out for the position of pitcher is easier than having fans watch five walks in a row. Our children need our presence and support when they make the hard choices. We know from our own lives that they will grow from their experiences.
Bringing the Gospel Into Your Family
Think of someone your family knows personally (or someone you've heard about) who may be feeling lonely because they made a tough choice. Maybe they are recovering from addiction, raising a baby alone, or left a difficult relationship. Reach out to that person as a family either by visiting them, inviting them to dinner, sending them a card, or writing a letter. Help support them in their tough decision.
- Once I remember trying to help (like Peter) but said the wrong thing. Now that I look back, it would have been better to say...
- A cross I bear in following Jesus is...
- I think one of the hardest situations to suffer through and one that requires the most courage is...
The Church celebrated the life of Saint Augustine on Monday, August 28th and he wrote this prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Peter was expecting a Messiah that would carry out a different plan than the one Jesus had explained. Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but his life and death would show a different understanding of what it means to be the Messiah. We too have expectations of God and our own ideas about what we think God ought to be doing in our world. Like Peter we may risk limiting our image of God by thinking only in human ways. God’s plan is always more than we can ever imagine.
As you gather as a family, talk about what we expect God to be doing in our world and in our family life. Then read today’s Gospel, Matthew 16:21-27. Why do you think Peter was so upset by what Jesus was saying? Notice how Jesus reprimands Peter. Do we sometimes forget to let God be God for us? That is, do we sometimes get discouraged because God doesn’t act in our world in the ways that we expect? Pray together that your family will remember that God is always working for the world’s salvation in ways that are beyond our human imaginings. Conclude by praying together today’s Psalm, Psalm 63.
[from Loyola Press Sunday Connection]