Jesus had just been proclaimed the Messiah, the Son of the living God by Peter in Matthew’s Gospel. We heard that passage last week, now Jesus explained to his disciples that He must suffer, die and then rise again. Peter, thinking in human terms tells Jesus; “God forbid, Lord! No such thing
shall ever happen to you.” Peter cannot wrap his head around Jesus’ prediction of His passion. This is where we hear Jesus tell Peter; “Get behind me Satan!”
These sound like strong words from Jesus toward the man He had just chosen to lead His Church. We can only guess at the tone of voice Jesus used in this statement, but He likely used a corrective tone, not of anger to explain to Peter it was not his time to lead just yet. Peter had to follow Jesus until His ascension into Heaven, and then Peter would be the leader of Jesus’ new Church. Patience and understanding can be hard traits to accept and build. Peter wasn’t known for his patience; he seemed to say what was on his mind rather than reflect upon it first and he acted rashly occasionally.
It seems Peter needed to build some leadership skills so he could begin thinking as God does, rather than as human beings do. We can identify with Peter here. Each of us needs training, tutoring, and practice in order to “put on the mind of Christ.” I don’t think any of us ever totally masters this, but there are some people who come close. I’ve run across a few people who, are Christlike; people with a gentle nature, soft words of encouragement, a loving gleam in their eyes. These are people you want to seek out and spend
time with because they put you at ease and make you want to be with them and to act like them. This is what each of us are called to. We can each work on this; using the grace God sends us, the sacraments of the Church and prayer. Try working on this in the coming week. Be patient with your self as we will fail often before we improve, but keep trying!