The Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

Nm. 20:1-13 | Ps. 95:1–2, 6–9 | Mt. 16:13-23

The gospel presents two pictures of Peter. First, Peter is the one who identifies Jesus as the Son of the living God. Jesus gives him a new name and confers on him the leadership of the Church. Peter has been able to so identify Jesus because of the gift given to him by God. The second picture of Peter follows immediately when Peter tries to tell Jesus that he must not go to Jerusalem to be crucified. This time, Jesus calls Peter, Satan because Peter is standing in God’s way trying to prevent Jesus from carrying out God’s will. We likewise, go from one moment of following Christ and His teachings to a second moment of not wanting anything to do with the cross or what following Christ demands. At these latter moments, Jesus calls us to remember what He has taught us and to take up the cross and follow Him. We are called to remember Jesus’s promise not to abandon but to be present to help us.

Reflect on this gospel. Recall times in your life when you were spontaneously willing to follow Christ. Why was that so? Now recall times when you hesitated and turned in the opposite direction. What was behind that time? Ask Christ to gift you with all you need to remain close to Him.

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