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Renew My Mind, Lord
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I place myself before you, my Lord and my God, my Savior and my Redeemer, my friend. In this time together, help me to deepen my surrender to you. Help me desire nothing more than to live in friendship with you.
- True God and True Man: In this moment of affirmation, Peter called Jesus “the Christ,” the Anointed One, and Jesus began to teach the disciples about what his mission would look like using the term “Son of Man.” In his Incarnation, Jesus is both God and man. This “does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man” (CCC 464). In his emphatic question, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus challenges each of us to reflect on our understanding of who he is, who he is to us individually and personally, but also who he is in fact. We can ask ourselves, “What does it mean to me that Jesus is God?”
- Don’t Tell Anyone: Why wouldn’t Jesus want his disciples to share what they understood about him? Why would he warn them not to tell anyone about him? Before the disciples were ready to share the Good News, they had to understand the Good News as it was, not as they wanted it to be. Here, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him after Jesus explained what was to come. Did Peter recoil at the thought of this man whom he loved suffering? Did Peter reject the mission itself, having a different idea of what it meant for the Messiah to come? Did Peter want to protect himself from such a future? In our own lives, we can recoil when we hear that the cross is a normal part of the Christian life. We can turn away from God when we see those we love suffering or when we ourselves experience suffering. We can, in a sense, rebuke God in our anger when things don’t go the way we think they should. Our response to challenges and sufferings in our lives should be trust, for “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can form our hearts and wills to embrace all that God allows through divine providence.
- How We Think: St. Paul tells us, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). To see our lives as God sees them, to desire what God desires for us, requires that our minds be renewed. We need to possess the dispositions that allow us to embrace God’s will and remove any obstacle to his grace working in our lives through our prayer and in the sacraments. The more we love, the deeper our contrition, the better we are prepared for God to work in our soul through his grace. As the Catechism states, “They (the sacraments) bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions” (1131).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I want you to be at the center of my life. I want my relationship with you to be the organizing principle of my life. I want to see my life and the world around me as you do, so that I can live more fully for you. Lord, please renew my mind so I can know your will, embrace it, and live it out.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will identify one aspect of the Church’s teaching about which I have questions or that I don’t understand well and I will look it up in the Catechism, read about it, and bring it to prayer.
For Further Reflection: Watch this video of Bishop Barron: Sainthood, Sanctity, and What Makes Us Holy.
Janet McLaughlin and her husband, Chris, live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.