Jesus, the Messiah…
Sometimes, it is the ones we love most that can cause the greatest struggles:
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” -Mark 8:31-33, NAB
The Apostles, the twelve men hand-chosen by Jesus to help Him carry out His ministry, were His closest friends and confidants. Of them, Peter held a special place. Peter would, one day, be the “Rock” that the Church would be built on, but, in today’s Gospel message, He is quite the opposite.
Jesus shockingly refers to Peter as “Satan” because he is questioning what is being said. Satan is working through Peter’s emotions, doubts, and fears, using them to make Jesus stumble; however, Jesus quickly recognizes the temptations before Him and rebukes Peter. At times, it is necessary to stand up to our loved ones, even if it may hurt them, in order to do the right thing. Jesus knew what He had to do and was not going to let anything, or anyone, stop Him.
Have the people in your life caused you to stumble? Haved loved ones proved to be more of an obstacle than anything? Differences in belief and faith can cause this to happen quite frequently. When our loved ones do not share the same faith and values, they can begin to pull us away from our faith, and, most of the time, it is not even intentional. They are not trying to harm us; it’s simply because they don’t know any better.
Not too long ago, my very own family put me in this situation. The people I love and trust most in this world became one of my biggest challenges. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, and I were making some difficult choices about our faith, and my family questioned both our choices and our faith. Despite the challenges they placed in front of us, my wife and I knew in our hearts what to do and never looked back.
We will all face situations like this. Our friends and family may not share the same faith and values, the same love for Jesus, as we do. That’s okay. Just realizing our differences can help us to make better choices and avoid the obstacles that our loved ones may place in front of us. Today’s Gospel, like many other stories about Jesus’ life, show that we are not alone. By facing the same struggles that we do today, He serves as an example for us to follow. When, not if, your loved ones challenge your beliefs, what will you do?