Feb 22 (Mt 16:13-19)

The famous incident of President Abraham Lincoln during the US civil war goes thus…

The President met a group of church leaders for a prayer-cum-breakfast.

At one point during the breakfast, one of the leaders remarked: “Mr President, let us pray, that in this time of the Civil War, God is on our side”

But Abraham Lincoln, replied with a much-greater insight…

… “No gentlemen. Let us pray that we are on God’s side!”

It was a reminder by the President that religion ought not to be a tool to get God to do what we want…

… but a way of life, to open our hearts to listen and do what God wants of us!

Are we on the side of God?

>> Or are we on the other side, and expecting God to bend Himself to our ways and styles of life?

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful reminder of the Lord to examine our lives…

… and check, “if we are on the side of God!”

On reaching the villages of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus put forth the two-question examination to His disciples:

>> “Who do people say that I am?” (Mt 16:13)

>> “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 16: 15)

After having given various answers to the first question, Peter, the leader, gives the answer:

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Mt 16:16)

Although, Peter had given the right answer, the following statements by Jesus on His Passion, Death and Resurrection, scandalized Peter!

>> Peter had a set and standard understanding of a Messiah- as did the Jews of his time…

… a leader who would wield power and control

… a liberator who would exercise supremacy and command.

So when Jesus spoke of a “Suffering-Servant-Leader” (Mk 8: 31)…

… One Who would suffer

… One Who would subjected to the mercy of the other

>> Peter could no longer stand himself!

He began to rebuke Jesus (Mt 16:22)

But Jesus had to set things right…

… and so He would rebuke Him back strongly: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.

You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do!” (Mt 16:23)

Though Peter had made a correct statement about Jesus…

… it was still only a partial sight!

>> He still needed a “second intervention”, in order to see fully.

In the Gospel of St Mark 8:22-25, we have an incident of the “healing of a blind man”

>> In that, the blind man initially could only see “people walking, like trees” (Mk 8: 24)

But after the “second touch” from Jesus, he was able to see fully.

Something similar happens here…

>> The “blurred sight” of Peter is healed, after a “second touch” by Jesus.

Jesus was reminding Peter, by the strong rebuke…

… that Christian Life is not about “we wanting our way; it is about we seeking and doing God’s Will in life!”

Yes, Christianity is a Way of Life, that constantly asks us: “Are we thinking as God thinks, or are we thinking only the way, humans do?

>> “Are we on the side of God?”

In our everyday life, we come across plenty of opportunities, when we need to make this discernment:

>> Either to be on the side of God…

… or to go against Him!

We need to examine seriously our prayer life…

>> “Do we seek God’s Will in prayer…

… or do we seek to impose our will on Him?”

>> “Do we place our worries and problems before our God (Who knows all!)…

… or do we also command Him, on how and when these problems ought to be solved?”

Sometimes, we do have tendencies, to pull God into our boundary…

… instead of we moving to God’s side!

Today, the Lord clearly reminds us, as He rebuked Peter…

… to constantly be on the “side of God”.

Like Peter…

… we may have our own justifications to think the way we do

… we may have our own fears in encountering a Suffering God

But the Lord, is clear and constant in His presentation of Christianity: “Seek to be on the side of God”

… “Think the way, God Thinks!”

Yes, let us allow the Lord to mellow our hearts…

>> So that we can understand that religion ought not to be a tool to get God to do what we want…

… but a way of life, to open our hearts to listen and do what God wants of us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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