Pastor's Desk: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Welcome everyone to our Eucharist this Sunday and a special welcome to anyone who is visiting the parish on holidays. Our Gospel today tells us much about who Jesus really is. The first thing to notice is that we hear Jesus was praying alone in the presence of his disciples. References to Jesus praying appear regularly in the Gospels. It was this life of prayer that sustained him in his ministry and difficulties. Secondly, Peter is once again the bravest and most prominent apostle. When Jesus asks the question “Who do people say I am?” the other apostles are quick to list of all the names they have heard used about Jesus; John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the ancient prophets; but when he poses the same question to them silence descends. It was alright when they were saying what others think but now the personal challenge stops them in their tracks. Only Peter is brave enough to break the silence and say, “You are the Christ of God”. Christ is the Greek word for the Messiah, the Promised one of God who would restore God’s people.
Peter is a wonderfully complex character; he is the leader among the apostles and shows great courage and insight on occasions such as we hear today and yet we also know he can get it spectacularly wrong. In this passage he recognises Jesus yet on Holy Thursday night he will deny he even knows Jesus. Peter’s humanity is something that all of us should be thankful for because he makes it easy for us to follow him. If Peter was the perfect disciple, how could we even begin to follow?
Jesus, having acknowledged that he is the Christ, the promised Messiah, now says a very strange thing; “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.” Suffering is going to be part and parcel of the life of every Christian. It is not a great recruitment slogan but Jesus tells it as it is.
Let us ask the Lord to help us in carrying our cross this week.