Scripture reading reflection


Scripture Reading Reflection
by Fr. Andrew Kelly
Each Sunday the believing community takes bread and says “Amen” to the body of Christ. The bread proclaims: “This is who you are. You are the body of Christ.
The community next drinks from a cup of wine and says “Amen” to the blood of Christ. The wine proclaims: “This is how you will be the body of Christ. You will be the blood of Christ.”
Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 16:21-27) explains the meaning of the community’s “Amen:” “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Peter was repulsed and vehemently protested Jesus’ proclaimed path toward the cross’ bloody violence of total self-surrender and self-emptying for the sake of others. Jesus vehemently rebuked Peter.
Peter liked the idea of Jesus’ bread as comfort food. But as to the cup of Jesus’ cross, Peter found no comfort: “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” The community is similarly tempted: “God forbid it Lord! This must never happen to me.”
But with Peter’s reluctance and possible revulsion, the community drinks from Jesus’ cup and then follows Jesus to the self-empting cross of self-surrender. Jesus’ disciples have no other way.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

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