Friday, June 15, 2018

From Rock to Stumbling Block

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”Matthew 16:21-28  
Our humanity is always showing. We can be graceful one minute and falling the next, firm in our faith and then a mess of doubts. We can be strong one day and completely dependent the very next day. We are too often ready to criticize the failures of others, and forget how flawed we truly are. I am very grateful for the humanity and witness of Peter. He is boastful, quick to anger and rage, a very imperfect human who flaunts his brokenness for all to see. And in Peter, we have a model, a miserable sinner whom is entrusted with the church, the family of God.
Just moments before, in our Gospel, Peter has proclaimed Jesus as Messiah. In the next breath, it seems, he refuses to listen to what must happen. He denies Jesus, and not just in this moment. He is human and frail, like you and me. He aches to be faithful and right while regularly sticking both feet in his mouth. We are invited to understand that, like Peter, God loves us in our totality and our humanity. And God, who is the source of all love, will use our strengths and weaknesses for the blessing of the world.
Today, I ask God to help me accept my humanity and God's abundant love that sees beyond the imperfections. May we gain in strength as God uses all of us, weak and strong, for the redemption and love of the world.

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