Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
If someone asked you, point blank, “Who is Jesus to you?” what would you answer? Maybe you would be caught off-guard. It is often the case that we say plenty of good things about Jesus – but not quite the right things. We think of him as a helper, as a protector, a teacher, someone who shows us the way. But ultimately, as Peter states, Jesus is the Christ. That is, he is our Savior – he saves our lives.
Although Peter answers correctly, his mindset is still dramatically wrong.
“Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things’.”
If you accept that Jesus is the Messiah, you must also accept how he chose to live his messianism – through weakness and vulnerability. That is, through the Cross.
Maybe we would want the Messiah to take away our pain, our problems, and our crosses. Instead, He saves us precisely through these, but on one condition: that we welcome the cross so that we can live with Him.
This is the lesson Peter must learn. Otherwise, he will never “think according to God but according to men.”
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.