Friday, August 08, 2014

Today's Gospel: Mt. 16:13-23

I successfully fought off the inclination to throw various apologetic hammers related to this passage, though I note with some mirth that having done so does not imply that they should never be thrown. In any case, I am amazed by what we read here, and the heart of it is this: we are not dealing with some guy from the neighborhood; simply the way he talks invites us to wonder who it is who speaks to us.

Jesus knows that what matters here is not the sort of thing you talk about at parties, or so they say. But he wants to know. And it boggles the mind that the beginning of everything he wants to give turns on a simple yet powerful question, a question about himself: "But who do you say that I am?" It's not the only thing that matters, and it's not a cure-all, but if you get this right, truly, you are not far from the Kingdom.

It seems important not to miss what he tells Peter: that what he has confessed is not human knowledge, but knowledge of divine things. One important application is this: when you speak the name of Jesus, or talk about Him, you do a most powerful thing. Don't trifle with Him.

He loves you and me so much that he compares his closest confidante to his greatest enemy and ours at the slightest hint of Peter getting in the way of the cross! Our redemption, our reconciliation, our best hope. "He who is not with me is against me." He is tender, but the fiercest of all warriors.

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