Today is the 22nd sunday in ordinary time cycle A. The gospel reading is Matthew 16:21-27)
And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, saying, 'God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.' But he turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.
I don’t pray for patience anymore. There was a time I used to. But one day I realised that God’s manner of teaching me patience was putting adversity in front of me. I decided to change the way I thought about trying situations and became at peace with myself. One day I expressed this to a collegue of mine, who later remarked to another, that I didn’t work as hard as I used to, and that I was “coasting now”. It is funny sometimes how people would put a spanner in someone else’s works for selfish reasons.
And that was what Peter was doing in today’s Gospel when Jesus explained to him and the other disciples that he had to be handed over to be killed. He did not understand that this was the divine will of God, and that by this very act the salvation of the whole world depended.
Time and time again we see this in the bible and in the lives of the saints: People being afraid of hardship and asking God to take it away. Even among the believers, many women enjoy their pregnancy, communicating with their passenger, knowing that the pain of childbirth is getting closer. What if they could avoid that. Well maybe with modern medicine you could be knocked out and the doctor deliver the child by C-Section. But after the terrible pain enters a beautiful child who will grow up to do ordinary but great things in the world.
So, I don’t pray for patience anymore. Instead I ask God to guide me through the trouble and show me the fruit of the hardship.
God Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.