What Peter's, And Our Answer Means

Listening to and rereading today's Gospel from St Luke (Luke 9: 18~24) led me realize a few things. For one thing, Luke's account of this very pivotal moment in Jesus' public ministry is a bit different than Matthew and Mark's. In Luke's version, Peter is not commended by Jesus for his recognition of Jesus as Messiah. In today's Gospel we read that Jesus rebuked Peter and told him not to tell anyone of this. The Douay~Rheims translation is a little less harsh; it says: "But he strictly charging them, commanded they should tell this to no man."
It was at the end of this passage that Jesus' words started to be a little less confusing. Now I am no Scripture scholar; these are just my own humble thoughts, but my pastor's homily confirmed a little of what was going on in my mind as I listened to this passage.
Jesus goes on to tell His disciples of His impending Passion and death. He also tells them that if anyone wishes to come after Him and be a disciple, they must pick up their cross and come after Him.
My little spiritual "aha moment" was that I think that Jesus really wanted His Apostles to understand what Peter's answer truly meant. Peter was not just answering for himself, but for all of them. Jesus wanted Peter and the others to know that when the time came to proclaim Him as the Messiah, they indeed would be picking up a cross. 
Jesus spoke only the truth throughout His ministry, and it angered many; so much so that they plotted His death and succeeded in carrying it out. After that first Pentecost, when the Apostles would speak the truth about who Jesus is, they too would anger many, and some of them would also lose their lives for Jesus' sake.
Whenever I read or listen to the Gospel, I try to remember that Jesus is also speaking to all of us. So His question in today's Gospel is posed to me: Who do I say that Jesus is?  If I answer as Peter did (and I do), I need to be prepared to pay the cost of that answer. Now in the eight years since I have returned to living my faith, I haven't angered anyone to the point of them wanting to literally kill me, but I have angered and annoyed some who have chosen not to be friends with me, others simply tell me I take my faith too seriously, and one, by his refusal to live as Christ taught, has chosen not to be married to me. So I have taken a few licks, as most of us have, but Our Lord's graces and blessings, and His promise of eternal life with Him far outweigh any earthly cost He may ask me to pay.
As my pastor said in his homily, "Following Jesus is not easy..." Jesus never said it would be, but His life, His death, and His resurrection and Ascension show us what will be ours if we do accept His invitation to follow Him.
Jesus wanted His Apostles to understand what truly following Him meant; He wants each of us to understand as well.


Thanks. I have always found this passage slightly confusing.
Karinann said…
Thanks Elizabeth,
I still find the differences in the different gospel writers' versions of this one event, but this post just reflects what I got from it this time.
God Bless!
Anne said…
Those "licks" you've taken, your burden of the cross, must please the Lord so much!

When I saw Fr. Stan Fortuna last spring, he mentioned that he wanted to write a book called "The Rebukes of Jesus". I bet it would be a bestseller! I never did understand all of the rebukes He gave out, like when Peter's mother-in-law was sick, Jesus rebuked the fever. I wish that would work for all of us! Scold a cold and rebuke a fever! :)
Mary333 said…
This was very insightful, Karin. Sometimes I get confused by the differences in each gospel though I know the apostle is trying to get a specific point across. Sometimes I get what they are trying to say, sometimes I don't. Thank you for making some sense of this for me :)
Karinann said…
Thanks Anne and Mary for your thoughts on this post.
Anne- the other thing I always find interesting is the use of different terminology in the different Bible translations- the Douay Rheims doesn't use "rebuked" in this passage but says "strictly charged them". But I would love to read that book if Fr Stan ever writes it.

Mary- my pastor's homily really helped me with this one. I know we are not meant to understand everything in Scripture, but it's nice when one clicks every now and then :)