Jesus set out with his disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” And they told him, “Some say you are John the Baptist; others say you are Elijah or one of the prophets.”
Then Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” And he ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and after three days rise again. Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus turning around, and looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter saying, “Get behind me Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”
Then Jesus called the people and his disciples and said, “If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; and if you lose your life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it.
READ: On the way of His successful mission, Jesus asked His disciples who do people say He is. He got various answers and when He questioned His disciples, Peter on behalf of the Twelve professed their belief that He is the Messiah. Then He taught them what He had to undergo as a Messiah much to the consternation of Peter. Jesus rebuked the latter because he misunderstood, and called on His disciples to set themselves onto the path of sacrifice and humility in order to follow Him more fully.
REFLECT: Feelings of love sometimes precede understanding because it is a feeling of tenderness and goodwill whose basis has yet to be fully grasped. Peter and the Twelve no doubt loved the Lord. It was easy to love Him especially as He was gaining a large following and His mission works were almost all a resounding success. But when Jesus pointed them to a possibility that He would undergo hardships and sufferings, fear crept into their love and they became uneasy. Why spoil a day when love oozes carelessly and spontaneously? And so Jesus had to teach them again what true love really meant. It is not just about feelings. It is also about understanding that no matter the circumstances, true love remains steadfast and unwavering.
RESPOND: Perhaps we need a time to reflect on the real basis of our love for people. It is good to be aware of our reasons for loving. Although some loves are unfathomable and remain obscure still the exercises of being mindful of our love would help clarify why we act that way when it comes to people or things we love.
PRAY: Lord, teach my heart steadfastness and truth when it loves. Make me mindful of those I profess to love so that I may care for them deeply and sincerely. Amen.
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