Jesus is God’s Christ. His being so remains hidden, however, from those who lack compassion.
Jesus backtracks. He keeps hidden once again his being the Messiah no sooner than he has revealed it through Peter’s confession of faith. The Teacher directs his disciples not to speak to anyone of the confession.
One finds the reason for the prohibition in what Jesus says immediately:
The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
No, Jesus does not want his disciples to announce that he is the Messiah without their understanding it well. Better to keep it hidden than to announce it inaccurately.
To hit the mark, the disciples have to know, in the first place, that their Teacher is not the triumphalist messiah that people are expecting. Every prospective disciple must take seriously, in the second place, what Jesus adds right away:
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For today’s Christians, the message of the cross is no longer an obstacle or a folly. In contrast to even the disciples, we take it for granted that our Messiah is none other than the Lord’s Suffering Servant. We are resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified and not to boast but in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Yet our ethnocentrism continues unabated as we forget about the reconciliation of people that God brings about through Christ’s cross. We demonize immigrants and certain religious groups. We enact laws that make it harder for some sectors of society to exercise their right to vote. We inch our way back to the times of slaves and freemen, of subjugating men and subjugated women, of the rich man and poor Lazarus.
What kind of Messiah Jesus is still stays hidden from us, too, when we lose sight of the reason for Jesus’ anointing. He is God’s Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed. The Lord has anointed him with the Spirit for the mission of bringing the Good News to the poor. Hence, if we dismiss the poor, we really do not confess Jesus as the Messiah crucified for the poor of all kinds.
To be a Christian and not take pity on the pierced ones, the afflicted, and the marginalized is to be a caricature of a Christian (SV.EN XII:222). To celebrate the Supper of the Lord and cause division, this is not to see Christ’s face in the face of the poor.
Lord Jesus, grant that we may contemplate and serve you in the person of the poor.
June 19, 2016
12th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Zech 12, 10-11; Gal 3, 26-29; Lk 9, 18-24