Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Optional) Memorial: Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (435AD)
Book of Numbers 20:1-13, Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9, & Matthew 16:13-23
"Who do you say that I am?
Today's scriptures show that we can be close to God one moment, and the next, we can feel miles away. They are wonderful examples of the idea that my thoughts are not always God's thoughts. Even when we feel like we are in tune with God, all it takes is a moment to be entirely out of tune.
In the Book of Numbers, the children of Israel are led out of slavery. They have been rescued from the Egyptians, and they have witnessed many miracles. You would think that they would be grateful, but instead, they are thirsty, tired, and whiney. The Israelites were privileged to see incredible and wondrous things, but it's the little things that pull them away from God. The Lord God instructs Moses on how to provide water for the people. Moses delivers water in his anger and impatience but does not follow God's instructions and incurs the Lord's anger.
The Psalmist sings to the Lord and warns us not to be like the Israelites in the desert with hardened hearts, testing the Lord. Matthew's Gospel has Christ teaching and performing miracles, and now it's time to test his disciples. "Who do the people say that I am?" Well, some think John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet.
"Who do you say that I am?" Peter replies, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Peter passed the test. He is in tune. Peter has made an incredible step, and Christ praises him for it. But we only have to explore a few lines further when Jesus lets the disciples know that it's not all going to be sweetness and light. There is suffering and pain, and a cross, in the near future. Peter takes Jesus aside, saying, "no way!" Here, Jesus rebukes him, "Get behind me, Satan!"
Friends, I believe it is reassuring that even Peter, the Rock, could mess up. For even Peter could go from in tune to totally out of tune. Ultimately, he still had the chance to get back in harmony, and God grants us the same opportunities as well.
Question of the Day: How will you recognize God in all things, big or small?
Prayer: "You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."