In this section you can find a daily commentary on the Gospel of the Day.

Thursday 4 August 2022

Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Word for today
The Gospel of Matthew 16:13-23

The scandal

God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you. This is the sentence which expresses Peter's thought, mental orientation, inner dialogue. If these words, from the human point of view, reveal Peter's friendly concern for Jesus, an admirable sense of loving protection, and the wish that what Jesus predicted about his passion, death and resurrection would never take place; from a divine point of view, Jesus' reply reveals that Peter's mental attitude is very dangerous, much more dangerous than we might imagine.
Jeus's answer leaves no doubts, the real scandal is to think as human beings and not according to God's will. But what is so satanic in human thinking - as Jesus says -  as clearly exemplified by Peter in this occasion?
God the Father asked his Son Jesus to become man and to come to earth to reveal to all mankind that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, the only One who has the light, the power, the authority to disclose through the
evangelical procedures  God's way of being, thinking and doing, i.e. the kingdom of God.  Jesus came to dwell among us so that man can choose again and rediscover the forgotten ways of love, life, sharing, unity, forgiveness. He came amidst us to uncover the deception of Satan who wants to lead man to self-destruction. Jesus came down to earth so that guided, supported, defended, and comforted by the power of the Spirit Paraclete, humanity could once again choose and discover its dignity and nobility as God's children, for a life full of peace, prosperity, health and joy. This is God the Father's will.
Suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, is not part of God's will, but it is part of human responses. The hatred of the priests of the temple and the elders of the people,  the scourging, the cross and death by suffocation were never ever part of the heavenly Father's will. It is certain that the Heavenly Father asked Jesus, His beloved Son, to accept any response to His proposal, even the most violent, ungrateful, arrogant and deadly one with love and infinite tenderness, forgiveness, and compassion. It is within this response of boundless love, even under the humiliation of the cross and the violence of death, that Jesus saves the world and offers His own life as a ransom for many (Matthew 26:28). The Father's will asks Jesus to give a precise, loving answer to man's response, which has nothing to do with man's free response. Man could have responded to Jesus' proposal with the words of Peter, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. No one prevented man from doing so, and everything would have been different, wonderfully different. Jesus' murder is not God's will, even thinking it is a scandal, satanic. Jesus' murder is man's response to Jesus, not the Father's will. Peter's reply, God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you, is not entirely in line with the Heavenly Father's will, and that is why Jesus's reply is harsh and without appeal. God forbid, Lord is like saying, God cannot allow man's free response, if it meant a violent and deadly response to Jesus' person. It would be like ordering God how to think, be, move, choose and decide.
Peter does not realize that if God the Father did not accept, with infinite love, every violent response by man, humanity would not be here talking about it.
If Jesus from the cross had moved just one finer against us or had asked the heavenly hosts to defend Him, what would have become of us all?
God forbid is to think ill of God, it is the worst and most insidious way of thinking ill of God. It is thinking that because God lets us commit evil, it can be insinuated that He is an accomplice of evil, He agrees with the evil, cooperates with evil. It is a way of thinking which is entirely human and directly inspired by Satan.
In practice, as the Father's will, out of honor and respect, leaves us to freely respond to His proposal of love with violence and evil, we feel allowed to consider Him guilty and an accomplice of evil.
It is absurd. It is stupid. And since stupidity never travels alone in the human mind, Peter exclaims, No such thing shall ever happen to you, which is a clear expression of megalomania. It is as if Peter could somehow have control over the situation, over human responses, over God's merciful will, over Jesus' tenderness, over the boundless beauty of the imagination of the Paraclete Spirit. To have control over Love.