Promise of greatness, blessing and glory
Jesus is the perfect, awesome and amazing fulfillment of the promise God has made through the patriarchs and the prophets.
From the perspective of human wisdom, the good news is that God makes a hopeful promise to Abraham. But the bad news is that the Father of all believers has to leave behind first his comfort zone.
From the perspective, however, of divine wisdom, the bad news is at the same time the good news. That is to say, God does not see the good and the bad humans see in the calling of Abraham. The leaving behind of securities and the promise of greatness, blessing and glory make up just one good news.
As Jesus speaks of his passion, death and resurrection, he likewise announces just one good news. Unfortunately, Peter does not get it. But the Teacher, standing his ground, rebukes in turn the disciple who has just rebuked him. And he makes clear right away, in an awesome and amazing way, that salvation lies in perdition. He will teach later on that greatness means service.
Nevertheless, we still find it hard to grasp the promise of salvation through perdition.
Surely, the Suffering Servant makes us a promise by giving us, through his transfiguration, a preview of his divine glory. But is it wholly evident that this promise of glory truly convinces us?
It is worthwhile, yes, to wonder if we are not like the disciples who do not understand the saying of Jesus. And they are afraid to ask him. Do we not perhaps show our lack of understanding and courage, since we keep jockeying for the best places? And after familiarizing ourselves with Jesus’ predictions of the Paschal Mystery?
True, like James and John, we claim we can drink the cup of Jesus and accept his baptism. But does our shameless careerism not show that we are as foolish and annoyingly witless as the two brothers?
We refer to the Zebedee brothers and Peter as chosen disciples. Is it not that they are chosen because, more than any disciple, they show they are foolish and dull? They are vocal in their rejection of the good news of the passion, death and resurrection, of their Teacher. With the strength coming from God, however, they later become genuine listeners of the Author and Perfecter of faith. And thus, too, do they get to share in divine wisdom.
St. Vincent de Paul urges us to put on Jesus Christ (SV.EN XI:311). Good news! But we should first empty ourselves, getting rid of all self-centeredness, selfish interest and ambition. Good news also!
Lord Jesus, you gave us the Eucharist, memorial of you passion, death and resurrection, and promise of future glory. Pour out on us your wisdom.
12 March 2017
2nd Sunday of Lent (A)
Gen 12, 1-4a; 2 Tim 1, 8b-10; Mt 17, 1-9