In the gospel, Jesus says to Peter, “get thee behind me Satan, you are an obstacle to me. You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do”. In the rebuke of Peter, the Lord wants Peter to take the position of a disciple, which is always behind the master; to be at the back of him rather than in front. Being a disciple means trusting the master even when everything is not clearly understood. Peter, in trying to dissuade the Lord from the cross, thought he was doing him good without knowing that he was being an instrument for the devil.
Dearest sisters and brothers, this episode happens every day in our lives. The devil is always wanting us to take the easier way out any time we face life’s problems. He wants us always to seek the path of the least resistance and the most convenient way out even when it leads to our spiritual destruction. The Lord, rather, wants us to always ask ourselves: What does the Lord want me to do in this situation? Which one among the options will lead me to do his will even when difficult and inconvenient?
In Peter’s admonition to Christ, one may see also an effort to protect himself. It is obvious that Peter knows that if Christ is killed, he might be killed also. Peter’s action also reflects our own fears and dread in the face of pain. As humans, no one wants to endure pain, including myself. We saw how Jeremiah lamented that the word of the Lord he is prophesying is bringing him derision and reproach from the people.
The mystery of life as our Lord told us in the Gospel is that suffering is part of following him and that anytime we reject the cross, we reject him. That is what St. Paul reminds us when he tasked us “not to conform ourselves to this age” that wants a life of ease and comfort and nothing else. Paul, rather, wants us to be “transformed by the renewal of our mind to discern what is the will of God”, which is that we follow him through our daily and individual crosses.
It is the cross that unites us with Christ. Anytime we accept sufferings for Christ’s sake we are united with him in a special way. It is true that “our love for God may not make life easy for us, but it brings us great fulfillment and meaning to life” both here and in the hereafter.