For Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Ordinary Week of the Church Year
Today the Gospel begins by reporting the amazement of the disciples who have just seen the Lord free a boy from a violent demon.
He now tells his disciples something violent that is about to happen to himself.
Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.
Now, their mood of amazement changes to something else.
The Gospel tells us they did not understand what he was telling them, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
Why were they afraid?
This is the second time he has told them he is going to suffer.
The first time, Peter objected, and the Lord told him to get out of his sight, calling him even a “satan.”
Earlier today, the Lord scolded them for their inability to cast out the demon.
O faithless and perverse generation,
how long am I to be with you and bear with you?
So now, no one dares to ask him to explain his talk of his coming suffering.
The Gospel simply says they are AFRAID.
Peter committed no sin in wishing that the Lord should not have to suffer; but for wishing that Peter receives angry words from the Lord: “Get out of my sight, you satan!”
The disciples today committed no sin in being unable to throw out the demon.
Yet the Lord speaks to them with impatience: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you?”
Now they are confused by his prediction of his own suffering, and they are AFRAID to ask him to explain.
Perhaps he will only issue them another angry rebuke.
The anger of Jesus is a confusing mystery for his disciples, and it is a reality that is somewhat ignored today by some Christians.
Let us not take the Lord for granted.
He is quite capable of anger.
If we ignore that, then we don’t have a realistic relationship with the real Christ.
If we presume and take for granted the Lord’s mercy, then we bear responsibility for making immorality common and even “normal” among ourselves.
Our present lack of a sense of sin has also deflated for us the Gospel’s sense of wonder and amazement at the majesty of God the Father of Mercies.
Today upon seeing the spiritual power and authority of the Son of God, the Gospel says “all were astonished at the majesty of God.”
Yet they have also seen the anger of the Son of God, and today the Gospel says they were afraid to ask him to explain his prediction of suffering.
Our real Lord exceeds all our preferences.
He is transfigured, and yet he suffers.
He forgives sins, and yet he scolds Peter for wishing him freedom from suffering.
He is the Good Shepherd, but he can also violently eject the sheep and their shepherds out of the temple.
He simply exceeds us, and so in the end we fall down to worship.
God the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son,
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.
Almighty God and Father,
we worship you,
we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.