Sunday 25th of Ordinary Time
By Fr. Fabien K., SX
Last Sunday, we heard from the gospel that Jesus, leaving for the villages round Caesarea Philippi, asked his disciples a question about his identity: “Who do you say that I am?” To this question, Peter responded that He is the Christ. And then, Jesus made his first announcement about His passion and death that the disciples didn’t understand because they had other expectations and image of the Messiah totally different from the kind of Christ that Jesus announced, an image of the Messiah influenced by the political expectations of the time.
Today’s gospel tells us about the second announcement of the passion. We can ask ourselves why Jesus announces his passion for the second time. The reason is because the first announcement was not understood so he wants to deepen the understanding of his disciples. However, the gospel shows clearly that even in this second announcement, they still didn’t understand. While Jesus was telling them about his passion for the second time, they were afraid to question Him, they remained silent. However, they had been discussing among themselves who was the greatest among them. They only had one preoccupation, one goal and one interest: the power. The idea of the suffering Christ was very strange and unacceptable to the disciples.
The attitude of the disciples reveals that they didn’t understand the previous teaching about his passion. The fear and the discussion about who is the greatest show clearly the total misconception of the disciples. The journey of the Son of Man towards the Cross which is the symbol of self-sacrifice it ironically becomes the arena for the race for power and the supremacy among the Apostles.
To follow Jesus is not a question of glory, of power, of success. It is neither a question of social position or status, of greatness and of prevalence over others, but it is a question of embracing Jesus’s project of freedom and salvation whose achievement must pass through the cross without escaping and without delay. The logic of the gospel is not a logic of power, of glory, of egotistical ambitions BUT it is a logic of the Cross, of Self-sacrifice and of Service. The words of Saint James from the second reading underscore clearly what can happen if we are attached or bound to our ambition, passion and thirst for power, glory and success. Paraphrasing him, he says: where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there are also disorder, every foul practice, wars and conflicts.
To become a disciple or a Christian is to embrace this project: to drink and share the cup of the Master and be immersed in the same bath of pain like Him!
The Discipleship is not an accommodating and sustaining life as we think; we have to eradicate this fallacy from our mind. To become a disciple means to become a humble servant of all. The greatest among us is the one who serves, who humbles himself and who gives himself sacrificialy to others.