Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:23
Every Christian shares two lines of relationships, one connecting him to God and the other, connecting him to the world and fellow men. On the vertical plane, man relates with God who is immortal and far from the realm of man’s understanding, and in whom man depends for his life and being. The horizontal plane sees to a healthy relationship between man and the rest of the created order especially, his fellow men. Though man is linked to these points of relationship, the ultimate end is to foster a good relationship with God. The relationship man enjoys with fellow men, should not frustrate his relationship with God.
In His earthly existence, Jesus had a healthy relationship with men, yet, not neglecting the connection with His heavenly Father. The apostles appeared to be the closest to Jesus as He carried out His earthly mission. One could suggest that the apostles shared in the very life of Jesus Himself, and Jesus shared their lives too. With the great confession at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-17), Peter was admitted into what one could describe as the inner caucus of Jesus’ ministry as he was made the head of the Church. “You are Peter and on this rock I shall establish my Church and the gates of hell shall never prevail over it” (Matt. 16:18) was the statement that did not just confirm the headship of the apostles in Peter, it was also a declarative statement that incorporated Peter in the larger ministry of Jesus. Peter came to share a close horizontal connection with Jesus from within. Shortly after Peter was elevated to the status of sharing intimately in the life of Jesus, he posed a serious threat to the relationship that Jesus shared with God His Father. “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me” is an assertion by Jesus himself, showing that even in His earthly existence, His supreme end was the relationship with the Father. The God-Head has willed the salvation of man through the death of Jesus on the cross but Peter wanted to stand in the way of accomplishing this divine mission. He was supposed to take active part in seeing to the accomplishment of this mission he was within. Instead of being faithful to his calling, Peter became a threat saying “……far be it from You Lord: this shall not happen to You” (Matt. 16:22); he wanted to dissuade Jesus from accomplishing the eternal plan of God to save mankind. Beloved, many times in our lives, our horizontal line of relationship (with the world and with fellow men) seem to be a threat to our relationship with God. We tend to get so attached to man and the world to the utter neglect of our ultimate goal which is everlasting relationship with God. This is traced to our inner desires; from our inner craving to satisfy our inordinate desires and to maintain our human ties and bonds. In the case of Jesus, Peter was a threat from within, but most times in our own case, it is evidence that our spiritual life is being threatened by our own desires which comes from within us. It is this insatiable and unhealthy level desires that spur us into establishing a line of relationship with men and with the world, that is selfish and makes us lose sight of the eternal glory in heaven. We should be careful about the distractions that come from within us and from those things and people we hold so dear. Theirs could be a more tactful and close distraction and hence, a spiritual threat from within. As clergy or lay person, be conscious of what you treasure in your heart and the kind of persons you felicitate with. Some may be serious threats to your relationship with the Father. Let us be careful not to be threats to the spiritual life of others.
Rev. 3: 1-6. 14-22; Ps 15: 2-3a. 3bc-4ab.5; (R. Rv3:21); Accl Jn 4:10b; Lk 19: 1-10
ALBERT THE GREAT, B. D.
- Lord I bless Your name for the gift of life, family and friends.
- Take this prayers seriously, “Everlasting Father, I desire to serve You with all that I have, but I am weak, unbelieving and lack knowledge. I, therefore, beseech You Holy Father to grant me the grace to be more focussed in You. Help my unbelief. Grant me a childlike faith and fill me with divine knowledge and understanding. In Jesus name Amen. I am sincerely sorry for the many times I have been distracted from You by things and people that I hold dear. Forgive me for the many times I have given wrong counsel and advice. Have mercy on me my God.
- Give me the grace henceforth to live in virtue and draw people closer to You; rather than away from you. In Jesus name. Amen.
Exercise: Try to help a friend imbibe a virtue or any healthy habit.
Memory Verse: Luke 17:1-2