Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19;Matthew 16:13-23
“Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
You would think that it would be hard for an airplane hurtling through the sky at 600 miles per hour to veer off course. But actually, it’s quite the opposite. There’s a lot of wind that high up in the sky! This is why the plane’s course has to be constantly monitored and corrected.
In today’s Gospel, Peter gets his own course correction. He has just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus praises him for his spiritual insight. But then comes a strong gust of wind to alter his trajectory: Jesus says that he, the Messiah, will be rejected by the elders and suffer and die. Peter can’t accept this and immediately disagrees, prompting Jesus to reprimand him harshly: “You are thinking not as God does but as human beings do” (Matthew 16:23).
Actually, this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last, when Jesus has to redirect Peter’s faith. And thank God for that! If it could happen to the great St. Peter, surely we would welcome it when it happens to us!
God is constantly at work trying to keep us on course. He is always trying to give us a clearer picture of who he is so that we don’t lose our way. Sometimes it’s easy, but at other times it’s hard work as he strips away our misconceptions about him and his mission. For example, we may hear over and over again how merciful Jesus is, but still feel guilty about our past failures. Sometimes, we need him to show us in a dramatic way that we really can confess our sins, let go of our guilt, and walk in freedom and peace.
Just like Peter, we won’t get the full picture overnight. It takes time. It takes persistence. It takes a deepening relationship with the Lord. But just like Peter, we’ll discover that the results are well worth the effort. When Jesus shows himself to us, longstanding bitterness can dissolve. We feel empowered to let go of our anxiety and fear. We receive grace to overcome sinful habits.
Today, ask the Lord to show himself to you more clearly. Let him keep you on the right track!
“Lord, I want to know you more. Open my heart to hear your voice and to receive all of the grace you want to pour out.”~WAU