A Reflection on Mt. 16:21-27
By Bro. Peter Pocbit, CJM
“I have to go to Jerusalem.” It is very clear in Jesus’ heart his ultimate destination: to go to Jerusalem. He is so faithful in fulfilling God’s words. Going to Jerusalem is tantamount to accepting death on the cross. Obedience to the Father is the only core Jesus’ action. Jesus knows well that the hour was getting near when he has to entrust everything to God. The time to trek toward his death is now.
Before Jesus’s decision of coming to Jerusalem, he has made a lot of consultation and humility: in constant prayer to the Father. He has even been overcome by great sudden angst of death by sweating blood at the garden of Gethsemane. It means a lot of resignation and of willingness to heed God’s call despite the tide of adversities.
A highest degree of understanding has to be achieved in order for Jesus to truly heed the will of the Father. “I have to go to Jerusalem.” Jesus let his disciples know ahead of time that he has to meet his death. He wants to share to his disciples that being a Christian is a daily dying. We die to self and become available to God’s household. Our being is made for others and for God. It is even a naked message of a physical death, following the spiritual oblation of Jesus’s entire whole being to God the Father.
We too are invited to go to Jerusalem. What is our Jerusalem? It is necessary to undergo the same way Jesus has undergone. We relate to God in prayer. We Christian are called to “discern the will of God” and invited to be true to our identity as the follower of Jesus Christ. We say it too: “I have to go to the poor”. This is our calling: to serve the most unloved and neglected. We beg God to let us understand what He is calling us for especially in this time of crisis: the pandemic that affects us not only financially but substantially.
The test of today’s world has even made more demanding and relevant in matters of priorities. How can we come to Jerusalem despite the odds: the disturbance of today or the love of self? The dying of selves is the key: the constant prayer to God, a lot courage to persevere in choosing God’s call over daily priorities and to heed God’s call to serve.
“I have to go to Jerusalem.” This calling becomes ours too. Our Jerusalem is our true home: to serve God by seeking justice among the people. It is all the more necessary to do what is expected of us whatever the situation may be. Especially in this time of pandemic, “going to Jerusalem” call remains to be valid and urgent. May the Holy Spirit accompany us in this uneasy, rough journey.