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September 3rd, 2023 Bulletin & News

By August 30, 2023No Comments

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

God really speaks to us in a way we can understand. And it takes true humility to listen honestly to God. Last Sunday, Jesus affirmed that Peter’s profession of faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” did not come from “flesh and blood” – that is, Peter’s own human judgment – but from “my heavenly Father.” God the Father gave Peter a share in his own knowledge of Jesus, the Son, in a way that Peter could receive.

But today, Peter intervenes with his own very human judgment. He cannot imagine the “Son of the living God” suffering and dying. “God forbid, Lord!” is his response when Jesus foretells his coming passion, death and resurrection.

“You are thinking not as God does,” Jesus responds, “but as human beings do.” (Mt. 16:23)

Every true conversation involves listening and responding. It takes humility to distinguish God’s revelation from my own reflections or response to what God has said, and to accept that my mind and God’s may not be in perfect harmony.

Imagine a person who always completes your sentences in a conversation. Sometimes they might get it right, but other times they might be way off the mark. Likewise in our conversation of prayer with God, it is best to let God really speak – to let God’s word be God’s, and my words my own. Over time, my words and thoughts may become more aligned with God’s, but only if I truly let God speak without cutting him off or completing his sentences.

St. Ignatius of Loyola gave this counsel in the Spiritual Exercises, distinguishing between the moment when God touches a person’s heart, which he calls “consolation without a cause”, and the very next moment, when the person begins to respond. God’s word is always faithful, true and reliable. My response is always partial and tenuous.

Peter truly received a revelation from the Father, an insight into the truth about Jesus. And that revelation is faithful, true, and altogether reliable. But in the very next moment, he gives his own interpretation of what it means to be “the Son of the living God.” Peter cannot imagine a God who suffers and dies. It is fine that he expresses his opinion before Jesus, but Jesus makes clear that Peter’s opinion needs to be transformed by God’s revelation, and not the other way around.

St. Paul calls us to “be transformed by the renewal of your minds.” This renewal flows from our humility to both speak honestly to God about what is on our minds, and to truly listen in faith to what God has to say. God is a good Father, teacher, master and friend – and through Scripture, the teaching of the Church, and through the promptings of the Holy Spirit, he speaks to us in a way we can understand.

-Fr. Tom

San Pedro Comms

Author San Pedro Comms

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