4TH AUGUST 2022
GET BEHIND ME, SATAN! YOU ARE HINDRANCE TO ME.
MEMORIAL OF ST JOHN M. VIANNEY, PRIEST.
In today's Gospel reading, after Peter correctly says that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, Jesus reacts to his response by saying that it is not flesh and blood that have revealed to Peter his identity but it is Jesus' Father in heaven.
Apart from the above response, Jesus also tells Peter that he is the rock upon which he will build his church and that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it and that he will give Peter the keys of heaven such that whatever he binds on earth will also be bound in heaven and if loosed on earth will also be loosed in heaven.
These are indeed beautiful, impressive, inspiring and wonderful words from Jesus to Peter after he and the other disciples were unable to recognize Jesus when he walked on the sea and Jesus told them," O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Are we able to notice that, in the midst of these important, beautiful, impressive and inspiring and wonderful words that Jesus also says another equally important thing, that is, he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Let us not fail to notice that Jesus says that it is a must meaning that it is necessary, important, unavoidable and inevitable, that there is no any other option but to undergo the suffering and death.
The idea of Jesus having to undergo a necessary moment of going to Jerusalem and suffering to the point of getting killed and later raised on the third day does not augur well with Peter who rebukes Jesus and tells him," God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you."
We know that a rebuke is simply a sharp form of criticism or disapproval. It's basically a biblical way to say that it is not cool and should stop now.
What is the basis of Peter rebuking Jesus? Is it because he thought that Jesus as the Son of the living God should not undergo such a harrowing experience?
Peter gets the title of Jesus right but he gets its meaning wrong and that is why Jesus tells him," Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God but on the side of men."
If Peter is a hindrance it is because he does not want Jesus to undergo his passion. A hindrance can be brought about by the lack of understanding what is at hand and even by not giving it due consideration and this will make you act out of ignorance. Peter rebukes what he does not understand.
What if we make seeking understanding to be an important aspect of our faith, how will our faith be?
When Jesus told Peter that he is the rock upon which he would build his church and that nothing will prevail against it, he gives Peter a promise and an assurance of a good moment. Peter will be in a comfort zone that he will have to come out of.
The above scenario means that Peter will have to take over the mantle of the church' s leadership but he wonders how possible it will be without the physical presence of Jesus.
Fear of change which is normally associated with not wanting to come out of a comfort zone can also be a hindrance to the mission of God.
Hindrance also comes when you make your decision based on where you are rather than on where you are supposed to be. Jesus tells Peter that is he on the side of men.
What is it that hinders you from understanding your faith in God and what it entails? Are there matters of faith and of life that you have not given due consideration and due to these you are either being hindered or you are the one hindering?