25 Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 23, 2018
Last Sunday’s Gospel was about establishing Jesus’s identity as “The Christ.” But Peter’s response to Jesus’s question…Who do people say that I am?…spoken as the voice of all the Lord’s closest followers, made it clear that Jesus had a lot more work to do.
What God intended to reveal through the Incarnation…God’s Eternal Word Made Flesh…was complete in Jesus of Nazareth. There was nothing more for God to say. The “work in progress” was discipleship.
The Apostles and disciples recognized The Lord as The Messiah, but did not fully understand what “Messiahship” meant, and so they could not know what “discipleship” meant. That was a serious problem considering the fact that He intended His work to continue through them (and us). The Lord zeroed in on the issue when He said: You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.
In this week’s Gospel, there appears to be little progress.
How let down Jesus must have been when He caught them in the all too human act of competing with one another for recognition. Genuine, authentic Discipleship means doing the right thing, because it is the right thing, and without concern for recognition or reward. There is no Academy Award or Nobel Prize for serving God by serving others. There is only the gratification that comes from serving in Jesus’s name.
The Three Readings this week seem a bit disjointed. At first glance, they don’t seem to work well together. But, if we read them with the minds and hearts of innocent children…who are eager to learn…we begin to see how things can be when people strive to live in peace.
When we think like adult humans, we are often selfishly ambitious…aspiring for “greatness” as individuals, or as nations. That makes peace less attainable. However, when we learn to think as God thinks…ambitious for “greatness for all,” then the reasons for conflict slowly drop away. When we put ourselves at the service of others without looking for accolades, our reward is a sense of accomplishment as well as a sense of peace. And peace is contagious.
This is not easy stuff. It’s a strain to “think as God thinks.” But it is even more difficult to live as God lives…in perfect peace. We are “works in progress.” But, when we do our best to Live Jesus…should we happen to wonder: Who do people say that I am? The response is simple…You are a disciple of Jesus Christ.