One of the most challenging realities of life is to encourage people to do what is required, even in the most difficult situations. Meaning, no shortcuts allowed. While in a meeting preparing for an external audit, one of the attendees made comment that let’s ensure we do these protocols when the auditor is around, to which I further added, “let us do this at all times, even when the auditor isn’t around.”
To be consistent is to be remarkably different, to be consistent is to be honest and reliable.
In the Gospel, the Lord Jesus was asking the disciples how he is to others by inquiring what others say about him. He then turns the question directly to them and asks what they believe. Peter, the spokesperson that he was, told him that they believe Jesus is the Christ. Now that they acknowledged him as the Christ, Jesus shared with them what his ministry is all about: the rejection, the passion, death and resurrection after three days. Peter reacted to this, and the Lord rebuked him strongly. (At that time, the image of the Messiah was someone like a political leader who would free the Jewish people from Roman occupation. Jesus comments about his ministry appeared to be misaligned with how the disciples expected him to be.)
Jesus then summoned the crowd with his disciples and taught them the path of discipleship:
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (Mk. 8: 27-35)
This is quite a dreadful revelation. While the St. Mark didn’t mention how the disciples reacted, we can assume that this must have evoked fear among them. During the time of the Roman occupation, death by crucifixion on the cross was a method of execution. Thus, our Lord was inviting them to potentially share in tremendous suffering and death. This is really scary and those who were afraid then and now, will easily abandon Jesus.
How about us, will our faith be strong enough for us to be ready to commit to the Lord, as he says in the Gospel today?
Let us pray that God grant us the grace to have our thoughts and deeds aligned with those of God. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit grant us the strength to match our faith with action, so that we will gain Eternal Life.
‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.’ (Gal. 6: 14)