Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

When Jesus rebukes Peter in today’s Gospel, He does so in a curious way. He says to Peter “you think not as God does, but as human beings do.” The rebuke is curious because Peter, being human, would be expected to think in a human way. How else would humans think? But the rebuke is even more curious because it reveals an expectation: you could be thinking as God does. In the midst of Jesus’ rebuke of Peter is a startling invitation to leave behind human thinking and take up divine ways of thinking.

Jesus takes our normal ideas of right thinking and throws them out the window. Our ideas of good thinking might be that our thoughts should be more altruistic, or more benign, or more loving–but still basically human ways of thinking. We don’t normally go from “I should think less about myself and more about others” to “the Son of Man must suffer greatly.” In his essay “The Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis observes that “God finds our desires not too strong, but too weak […] like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea.” Like Peter, we may be content with thinking and acting in our human ways, but Jesus is calling us to thinking and acting in His divine ways.

February 16th, 2017