We are creatures of happiness. No one wants to be unhappy; no one likes to suffer. We avoid pain whenever we can. We are sad even at the funeral of one who has lived a hundred years, or even at the funeral of a saint. We probably might have agreed with Peter who put aside his master whom he loved and said: “God forbid that this happens to you”. He was acting in a perfectly human way.
However, God in his love wants us to transcend what is perfectly human. He wants us to rise above ourselves, to stretch out towards God. When Jesus reveled the kind of death he was about to suffer, he did so, after making sure that the apostles had understood who he was to a certain degree. He asked them first who people said he was, and who they thought he was. And when Peter gave the right answer, then he told them what was about to happen to him. Secondly, he did not tell the whole crowd of those who followed him, but he told his inner circle. It was a secret reserved for intimate friends.
The cross is so central to the friends of Jesus. It is the way the Master followed; it is the way he indicates to the rest of his followers, not just inner friends. “Whoever wants to follow me, let him deny himself…” yet the cross borne in following Jesus never has the last word. It is a way to happiness, for God who made us creatures of happiness does not contradict himself. He proposes the cross to us as a way to true and lasting happiness. In announcing his suffering and death Jesus always ended with the promise that on the third day he would rise. When he indicates bearing the cross as the way for his followers to go, he indicates it as the proper way to win one’s life. What Paul spoke about the cross is provable right by anyone who courageously carries his cross to follow Jesus: “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Romans 5:3-4).
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Unless a grain of wheat ,,, 19th June 2016