September 16, 2012: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:27-35)
If we listen to this conversation between Jesus and the disciples, it seems clear that the disciples still didn’t quite know who Jesus was. Some thought he was John the Baptist, some Elijah or another one of the prophets. But they really didn’t seem to know (even though they said they did) that he was the Christ, the Son of God. But then, I think most of us would have felt the same way. Meeting the Son of God in person is not something any of us are likely to expect to happen to us.
Take time to imagine how you would respond to Jesus in this scene. He seems to be angry with Peter because Peter tries to correct him when Jesus says that he would have to suffer a great deal and be killed–and then rise from the dead after three days. He tells Peter that he is not thinking as God does, but as human beings do. Think for a few minutes about how you would feel if Jesus said that to you–really think. Then tell Jesus you are sorry for all the times you have not listened to what he has said to you. Then kneel and ask his forgiveness.