Homily for Thursday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time
Every time I hear this particular Gospel passage, I kind of chuckle at how Peter is being praised one second because of his deep understanding on who Jesus is as Messiah and then, seconds later, he is being rebuked for not recognizing who Jesus is. And then I find myself saying, “Oh, yeah, I guess the same could be said for me.”
Each of us knows who Jesus is; we know that He is the Savior; we know that He is the Son of God. Yet, at different points in our lives, we don’t trust Him completely. That’s the message of today’s Gospel. All of us are Peter. Even though we know who Jesus is, we don’t fully trust that He knows what is best for our lives. We don’t have the faith in His will or His plan for our lives. When the going gets tough and things start to happen that threaten what we think is best for our lives, we tend to put Jesus in a box and try to prevent His plan from happening. That’s when Jesus steps in and tells us that we are thinking like humans rather than with the heart and mind of God.
The only way to remain rooted in that faith and trust is by being in constant relationship with Jesus. We have to talk to the Lord. We have to learn to speak from our hearts with Him about the deepest desires that we have. We have to be willing to be vulnerable with Him and share the deepest recesses of our hearts. But we also have to be willing to listen to what He speaks to us. That means learning what His voice sounds like through reading Scripture, paying particular attention to the words that Jesus speaks in the Gospels. But we also need the Holy Spirit – He is the one who teaches us what Jesus’ words sound like.
This morning, let’s call to mind those times when we have been like Peter and not fully trusted that the Lord had our best interests in mind. We should not only ask the Lord for forgiveness for those times, but we should also ask Him to show us how He was using those moments as opportunities for growth in our trust and faith in Him. As we receive the Living God in the Eucharist, may we allow His Body and Blood to transform our hearts so that we can be more attuned to His voice and trust that His plan for us is the one that will bring us to deeper faith in Jesus as the Messiah.