August 24, 2008,
21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
“Son of God”
One has to admit that Jewish community highly regarded Jesus. Some thought Him to be John the Baptist, others – Elijah and still others – Jeremiah; all of whom were the most prominent among Jewish prophets.
So Peter’s statement: You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God needs to be understood in this context. You are above these prophets; you are the highest class Teacher, beyond all competition, the one who teaches about difficult truth: love. But first thing – sensitivity. Towards the lepers, towards paralytics, towards the blind, the deaf, the hungry and the poor. Also towards the sinners and those unjustly condemned.
And if the Pharisees and Sadducees could forgive Him the sensitivity towards the former ones, the sensitivity towards the sinners was impossible to swallow.
For He ate with them, He drank with them, He befriended them. Therefore He was condemned. A drunk and a glutton. And on top of that – unclean.
Aren’t we His disciples?
Perhaps we’d rather be just followers, the ones who go to a Corpus Christi parade, where the orchestra should play; firefighter’s orchestra would be fine, and parade should be with banners, statues and children spreading flowers. Preferably we’d be the followers. The ones that go to a midnight mass. And it should be frosty then, snow should squeak underfoot, and then there should be carols sang so loudly that the walls of the church should shake. Preferably we’d be the followers on Easter, so we could take a child to church on Holy Saturday to have the food blessed and then there would be Resurrection Mass with the bells ringing.
Are we just followers?! Or are we disciples?
Everyone is facing this danger: presumption that it is enough to know that Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God and that it’s enough to admire Him when He performs miracles, and to adore Him and to gaze at His Divinity and to think that this is our Christianity.
But He wants us to be His disciples. He wants us to learn from Him how to live; to learn this difficult skill called love for every occasion, for every misery, for every imperfection, every slander, calumny and injustice. So you’d be ready to stand up to defend each wrongly accused person in front of Annas and Caiaphas and Pilate.
But then be careful. He was crucified, His disciples were crucified. You may face that too.
Fr. M. M.