Gospel Reflection for the 22nd Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – August 31st 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you’.
But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour.
What a name for Peter and it might last. Anyone who took Jesus off his course – tempted him, was a Satan. Peter didn’t realise that he was an obstacle to Jesus fulfilling his mission in life.
He was teaching them about himself. He had been gradually schooling the disciples about who he really is. Not just a great teacher or magnetic preacher or good friend, or political leader, but the complete revelation of divine love. They achieved their first high mark last week when Peter said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” And this would bring him to what we call holy week.
Maybe later when Peter was on the go again, someone might say Satan. He realised that his way now was to follow the Lord, not his own way. Obstacles come every day – from ourselves, the culture, the church, but the desire is inside us to do our best. It’s all we can do, it’s all Peter would be asked to do in the end, as the Lord would later ask him three times ‘do you love me?’ He knew then that love conquers everything and nothing in him would be a final obstacle to the Lord.
Donal Neary SJ