Our sixth ‘Lectio Divina’ follows the topic of the previous month, from the same Gospel of Mark 8:31-33,
Open our hearts and minds
to understand and see all that
your Son Jesus does and says
to us in our daily life;
do not permit us to harden our hearts.
- Read the Gospel of Mark 8:31-33, read it slowly and listen attentively to the scriptures with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the passage again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the passage again and this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this passage lead me to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the passage a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Concluding your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Introduction: the three ‘boat scenes’ which we have reflected previously were focused on the disciple’s failure to understand who Jesus was, this led us too to review and evaluate our knowledge and understanding of Jesus in the light of the disciples’ experience. The following three reflections will be on the texts where Jesus predicts and announces his passion to his disciples. We shall focus our attention on the disciples’ failures to accept the proposal of Jesus to become his followers.
Central Message: Mark 8:31-33
Jesus began to teach his disciple openly that He was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected and put to death, and after three days to rise again; taking him aside, Peter tried to remonstrate with him. Jesus rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God thinks, but as human beings do.’
a) ‘He began to teach them openly’. The purpose of his teaching was to help the disciples overcome the difficulties and uncertainties produced by the suffering and the cross which made them blind and unable to understand Him as the suffering Servant. He taught them gradually to open up their eyes and minds just as he cured the blind man in the passage earlier on (see Mk 8:22-26), until the blind man ‘saw everything plainly and distinctly’. Jesus tells them the truth plainly and openly about Him and what is going to happen to Him. He needs to tell them about his fate so that they could be prepared and be ready to accept and overcome such tragedy, which may seem a total failure. “For anyone who wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me”(Mk 8:34). It is clear Jesus’ proposal here in order to be his followers: ‘take up the cross’ which is the condition of his discipleship.
b) ‘Peter tried to remonstrate with Him’. Peter’s instinctive reaction to the teaching of Jesus was very human, he found difficult to come to terms with the idea of Jesus’ suffering and death, because he had the fix idea of Him as the Glorious and triumphant Messiah and perhaps he had his personal interest and ambition for being one of his followers. Peter personifies here the blind man we talk about earlier on that confuses trees with persons at first but eventually he could see everything with clarity. It is only after Jesus’ death when the Apostles understood everything He said and did and that is because Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit to assist them. So what Peter tried to do was to save Him from the suffering and the cross; he obviously didn’t accept the idea of a suffering Messiah and suffering disciples.
c) ‘Get behind me, Satan! Jesus rebukes Peter and rightly he calls him Satan (meaning the one who tempts and tests), Jesus felt vulnerable once again before Peter’s (Satan’s) temptation of abandoning his mission entrusted by the Father: to save the world through his death. Peter’s temptation was similar of Satan’s in the Desert (see Lk 4:9-11) but Jesus didn’t fall into temptation for he trusted his Father and was committed to his mission with all it implied, death on the cross.
Peter wanted to avoid pain and suffering refusing to accept the proposal of Jesus of taking up the cross. He perhaps wanted Glory without pain, an easy life without difficulties. Jesus’ command: ‘get behind me’, could be interpreted as well as ‘follow me’, ‘imitate me’ not in the sense of mimic but in the sense of the Latin word for ‘revivere’ (to live again in one’s own flesh the experience of Jesus). So then the true disciple of Jesus is the one who always goes behind his Master and accepts the difficult path, the cross. Only then he can share his life, mission and Glory,
Some questions for our reflexion:
- Jesus did not promise an easy path to follow him he proposed the cross, sacrifices and to renounce oneself, how do you go about it?
- What is it that impedes/hinders/blinds you to follow Jesus?