In last week's Gospel, Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for his rejection, suffering, and death. Peter, refusing to believe that this would be the path of the Messiah rebukes Jesus. As Father Jaime outlined in his sermon, Peter's inability to accept Jesus as he was called to be mirrors our own tendencies to construct a God or Jesus of our own liking. We have our own understandings, images, and ideas of what God should be and, as Peter, must be reminded: "Get behind". Father Jaime echoed this reminder that we are called to follow Jesus and the loving example that he set - not use Jesus to fit our image of what we believe a messiah, God, or salvation should be.
Jesus call is "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it."
To underline this call, Father Jaime cited the novel Silence. In it, author Shusako Endo tells the story of Rodrigues, a Portuguese Jesuit priest who travels to Japan to investigate reports that his mentor has committed apostasy. After being captured and confronted with brutal torture for his faith, Rodrigues is forced to consider the nature of suffering, martyrdom, salvation, sacrifice, and that of a "Silent" God who faced the same reality.
What is suffering? How do we "suffer well"? How do we teach others to process emotions, suffer, grieve? How can we better respond to the call to deny ourselves and what does it mean to "take up" our cross? These are just a few of the questions we posed one another as we processed and responded to this challenging message.