September 3 2023 Gospel Reflection: Matthew 16:21-27

9/3/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 16:21-27

21 Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
22 Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
23 He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

9/3/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 16:21-27

We can’t afford to become an obstacle for others to come to God and be saved.

In the previous passage of the same chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, Jesus called Peter a blessed rock for his discernment of Jesus as the Christ. In the gospel reading above, Jesus calls him Satan for being a stumbling block to His mission of saving the world through suffering, crucifixion, and death. Recalling His temptation in the desert, the devil (Satan) also tried to divert Jesus’ attention from His spiritual mission into selfish motives and worldliness. Thus, anyone who becomes a stumbling block to the salvific mission of Jesus can be called Satan!

When the read the whole story, Peter was just being human. In fact, Jesus Himself mentioned that Peter was thinking as human beings do. Supposing a close friend of yours suddenly tells you that he is going to suffer and die. You would most probably do what Peter did. “Oh no, how can I help you to stop that from happening?”, you would perhaps cry out. Yet, we do that with the best of intentions, just like Peter. Of course, we don’t want others to suffer and die. However, there lies the problem. We have unconsciously become a stumbling block for the fulfillment of something.

So let us reflect on our behavior. How many times did we become a stumbling block for others to achieve their dreams? Perhaps by quickly offering a suggestion without much thought and prayer. Perhaps by our own selfishness. Peter most probably wanted to be with Jesus for the longest time possible. Perhaps we don’t want our loved ones, say our children, to move away from us because we want their company but in the process, their emotional and even spiritual growth is stunted. Perhaps we are forcing our children to do what we as parents failed to do and in the process, our children do not become what they should be.

Then there are some of us that through our behavior, we send people away from God instead of inviting them to come closer to Him. By our improper speech or pride, some people are disappointed and never return to attend our community services. Let us pray therefore that we may set our eyes on Jesus so that we can discover what needs to be changed in us and to have the courage to really change for the better; so that others may see the good in us and give glory to God (Matthew 5:16). Let us help one another walk in the light and not stumble in the dark.

Go here to read related gospel reflection.

Gospel Reading with Reflection for September 3, 2023
Gospel Reading with Reflection for September 3, 2023

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