First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-23
Obstacles, they are all around us. No matter what we are doing or what our goal is, there always seems to be something in the way that tries to deter us from our goal. While at times we are prepared for these or see them coming; there are other times when obstacles seem to come out of nowhere or from the least expected places. Such was the case in the gospel today. One minute Jesus is telling Peter that he is blessed and that he is going to get the keys to the Kingdom of heaven, the next minute Jesus is telling Peter to get behind Him and that he is an obstacle. I mean really, what is going on here? Well, Peter shows us one of our natural tendencies which Jesus uses as a great teachable moment. Peter like all of us have a tendency to speak and act on things which seem like the right decision, I mean is Peter wrong for not wanting Jesus to die? Certainly not, but because he was "thinking not as God does, but as human beings do" (v.23), he was not in tune to what needed to happen.
I think that we can all relate to St. Peter; speaking without fully understanding. While Peter's intentions were good, he was not seeking out what the will of God was or what truly needed to be done. This thinking as a human being thing can really be a big obstacle in our lives and can be very hard to overcome. Many times in our Christian faith we are called to do things that are not easy or seem very impossible. When we think as we do, we may not reach our goal because getting to the end seems too hard or completely impossible. It is in these moments that we need to get ourselves out of this was of thinking, and tell it to "get behind us!" If we begin to seek out God's will for us, and get into the habit of thinking as God does and asking for His guidance for our lives, then we can begin to get through these obstacles. It will not matter if we see the obstacle coming or they completely blindside us, we will be able to get through it. It will not matter if this "human thinking" is coming from someone very close to us or from ourselves, if we focus on God's will, then we can get through any obstacle.
Obstacles are everywhere, constantly in our way as we work towards our goal. And you better believe that in your faith journey there are going to be so many obstacles trying to prevent you from getting close to God and to reaching the Kingdom. It is not easy, but we all know that in the end it will be worth it. My old football coach used to always say; "if this were easy, then everyone would do it!" Obstacles are always going to be there, how will you respond when you come across one?
One things that always helps me find peace when going through a difficult situation is to remember the scripture verse from proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not"
Remember, if it were easy, then everyone would do it.
Heavenly Father you bless us every day with your love and mercy. We thank you for the gift of our lives and pray for the strength and courage to overcome the obstacles that are keeping us from growing closer to you. Lord we pray for all those who are turning away from you and who are in need of healing. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.