Verbal language plays a big role in our life. It reveals the inner life of a person. It reflects the insight and character of a person. A good statement can strengthen the bond of friendship. In contrast a dull statement can cause trouble for a person who made it. It is the case of Peter. Last week, Peter on behalf of others, made a beautiful statement and Jesus praised him for his insight which came from God. It is the same Peter who this week makes a statement in private to Jesus and Jesus tells him,
'Get behind me, Satan, You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God's way but man's'.
Peter with all his wisdom and knowledge and honesty was telling Jesus what is best for Him. Peter did not know that his idea came from below, not from above. Peter and his disciples have been following Jesus for sometime but they did not understand that suffering and the cross was necessary for Jesus to perfect the redemptive salvation. If Peter had understood God's love for us in a heavenly way Peter probably would have acted differently.
Avoiding necessary suffering is not a true love because true love requires sacrifice, not for one's own gains, but for the benefits of others and that is what Peter misunderstood.
The suffering that Jesus was going to enter was a self - denial of His own Will so he could be faithful to the Will of the Father. The Will of the Father is to save mankind from sin and damnation that lead to eternal death. Jesus was willing to make that sacrifice to show God's love and to gain eternal life for us. Jesus later gave command that we should learn from Him to show true love for others. His command sums up in one single statement,
By this sign people know that you are my disciple that is to love one and others.
Jesus tell us how Peter went wrong? Peter understood the meaning of love in a worldly way, not in God's way. St Paul in his letter to the Roman 12,1-2 tells us about true love and a way in which we can discern the will of God.
Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind. This is only way to discover the will of god and know that is good.
The only way to renew our love for God, renew our way of life is to follow God's way that is surrendering our own wills and wants and adopting God's will. We need to surrender our thoughts even though the thoughts appear to be good and worthwhile ones to follow. Peter thought the same thing and he went wrong when he told Jesus not to undergo the suffering. Our will can never be better than God's because God's love is beyond our comprehension. Therefore following God's way is the safest one and could never be wrong.
Never let the behaviour of the world around you influence your faith and love in God. People may argue that a majority of people around the world who once believe in God no longer believe and yet they enjoy life as much as we do, so why choose the hard way.
I urge you to contemplate the teaching of St Matthew 7,24-28.
"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell-and great was its fall!"