12th Sunday (C)
Whoever wishes to save his life

 In today’s Gospel of St. Matthew 16:13-20 we read the same account of St. Luke about Peter recognizing who Jesus was. We hear Jesus conferring to Peter a title. Jesus will say to Simon Peter you are "keefa" Mat. 16:17. In the Aramaic language Keefa means rock. We heard this same name worded in the film of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion" that spoke the Aramaic Language, the Old Language of the people in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. When translated to theLatin Language, "keefa" was said "Petrus," from petra which means rock in that language. From that came to us the word Peter in English. About this title St. Ambrose of Milan says: "It is to Peter himself that Jesus says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal."

 This title given to Simon as Peter (rock) took another meaning in today’s Gospel Lk.9:18-24. St. Luke will see in this a message that Peter needs to suffer so as to be a real disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, St. Luke will show us Jesus immediately speaking about his suffering: "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders...and be killed and on the third day be raised."

 Peter will refuse the notion of suffering. He had been given a title so as to become something and not to suffer. And for Peter, Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ of God, why should He suffer. In our lives, we see the same kind of things. A person with a title is an important person that we accept with difficulties to see him or her in a situation of weakness. It is sometimes as a scandal to us. And we wonder how it could happen to him.

 Jesus calls all his disciples to be ready to take up their crosses because this is the way that God works, there are no titles: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

 A lot of people are happy to be Christians. But when they have any kind of suffering these same people lose their mind and start to doubt their faith.

 A Christian who does not know that suffering is part of his faith denies the meaning of the Jesus’ suffering for our salvation. A Christian who does not accept suffering as a way to join and share in his Savior's sacrifice is not a real Christian. A Christian who fears suffering is a Christian who cannot redeem or save anybody.

 All Jesus' disciples suffered and accepted it as a gift of love. Jesus says to us today: "if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me."

 There is no title that exempts us from suffering in this world.  Suffering can be a way to live our real Christianity.