With his teaching and life, Jesus proves that to lose is to gain, to die is to live. To belong to him is to embody this truth.
Jesus calls fishermen Peter and Andrew. Right away, the brothers, as though they have nothing to lose, leave their nets and follow him. James and John also quickly follow; they leave their boat and their father.
And Jesus does not let them down. That is because he shows he is a new teacher, a new prophet. For he goes around, teaches, proclaims the Good News, and cures diseases and illnesses among the people.
So, his fame soon spreads and great crowds follow him. Surely, the disciples think in their hearts that they do not follow just anyone. For he shows more and more that he is the promised Messiah. It is better, then, to lose nets and boat than Jesus.
To follow Jesus, yes, is worth it. After all, he amazes the crowds, for he teaches with authority. Never mind that his teaching asks for inner, radical, change, and turns things upside down. Besides, he wants his followers to follow him as a poor man, always ready to go with him, and as kind and inclusive as he.
Jesus says again that to lose is to gain.
Jesus, yes, amazes the crowds. But there is no lack of those who do not agree with what he says and does. And he does not hide the cost of being a disciple. To be a disciple is to have the same fate as the prophets. It is to lose life for his sake to find it. It is to be like Jeremiah.
Still and all, Peter scolds Jesus for he says that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly. That he must be killed and be raised on the third day.
This saying makes Peter stumble, indeed, which prompts Jesus to call him, in turn, “Satan.” And he tells him to get behind him; he is the Master. He says again that to lose life for his sake is to find it.
Like Peter, Jesus does not want suffering for himself or anyone. But he is not like him, too, since he thinks as God and does his will. He seeks first the kingdom of God and his justice. He puts himself on the line. For the sake of a better world where justice, peace, freedom and happiness reign. A world fit for humans. And we are less than human if we do not feel for those who suffer (SV.EN XII:222).
Sadly, to do any good brings in strife (SV.EN I:75). And no one goes against Jesus more than those who are in control in Jerusalem. They conform to this age, and so, they oppose all change that will make them lose power, wealth and privilege.
Lord Jesus, make us follow you and speak truth to power. Grant that we live what we call to mind at your Supper: your commitment to lose so as to gain, to die so as to live.
30 August 2020
22nd Sunday in O.T. (A)
Jer 20, 7-9; Rom 12, 1-2; Mt 16, 21-27