Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The new life is born from the suffering
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “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 8,31-35
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Is 55,8), says the Lord by the prophet Isaiah. Why the ways and thoughts of the Lord completely differ from ours? Yet, the history is full of people and ideologies which have tried to save the world and to free the mankind from its bondage. In the Palestine of Jesus there were the Pharisees, the Zealots and the Essenes, while outside of the Jewish civilization there were the civilizations of the Greeks and of the Romans. Many emperors, kings and legislators have tried. Even the illuminists, the communism and the various ideologies of liberation which materialized over the time, tried to save the world from the forces of the evil which enslave it. Objectively, we must recognize that some success has been achieved. The peculiarity, however, of Jesus Christ – the only one who really saved the world – was to pass through the suffering, the defeat and the death on the cross, rather than through the success and the human victory. Even in the today Church there are many well-meaning people who, like Peter in the today’s gospel, cannot think “according to God, but to the men”. It is not easy to think according to God because it means accepting, as the savior, Jesus Christ crucified. The new life of the gospel comes not from the winning, but from the suffering. At this time also two of our daughters, Anna and Rita Lisalberta are in the hospital waiting to give birth to two new lives, in the suffering. Because the savior of the world, Christ, is crucified, a new life comes even from those who accept the suffering in his name and the defeat to save the world. To reach this awareness, as Saint Paul says, means to have the “mind of Christ” (1Cor 2,16) and to enter the Kingdom of the heaven. For those who accept the dynamics of the grain of wheat, which, to bear fruit, must to die in the earth, the prophecy of Isaiah is reversed and it becomes: “My thoughts are your thoughts and your ways my ways”. An eastern legend narrates that once there was a salt doll which roamed the earth. One day she arrived to the sea and she wondered what was all that mass of water. To understand what it was she decided to go inside, but when she was in the sea, the water dissolved her feet. “It is true that I lost something – said the doll of salt – but now I know what is the sea”. The legend, however, concludes: “That is why today the sea is salty”. To change the world and the situations it is necessary to go inside and to be prepared to lose something.