When you love someone you want what is best for them. Quite frequently you spend a lot of your time trying to figure out just how to help them find what that is. Some people give complete freedom to their children or loved ones and step back ready to help them pick up the pieces when or if things go bad. Some people hold their loved one on a very tight rein and do everything in their power to keep them from miss-stepping. Some plead and some scold, some scare and some inspire their loved ones to do the right thing. It should come as no surprise to us that throughout his life the humanity of Jesus struggled to figure out how to love the world and bring us all to God. After his Baptism in the Jordan,
Jesus was tempted in the desert. The Devil tried to convince him to relate to the world in three different ways: He tried to convince Jesus to use big displays of power to scare us into being good. He he tried to convince Jesus to buy our love or bribe us by giving us everything thing we could ever dream of. (Turn these stones into bread) Finally he tried to convince Jesus to simply compromise and lower his standards You see the Devil was desperate to keep Jesus from using suffering love to save the world. Jesus’ sharp response to Peter in today’s Gospel shows that he continued to struggle with the same temptations he experienced in the desert. When Peter tried to convince Jesus not to carry the cross and not to choose suffering love, it was as if Jesus found himself back in the desert facing off with Satan find the same temptations. Hence his harsh rebuke to Peter “Get behind me Satan” And just before he was arrested we see Jesus being tempted in the Garden of Gethsemane once again to avoid death on the cross once again. With his passion and His death Jesus chose suffering love to redeem the world and bring us all to God. His examples should inspire us all to do the same. Holy Ones.. We all know that you can scare a person into being good for a while We all know that you can bribe a person into being good for a while You can make tons and tons of rules and laws in a vain attempt to make people do good. I was a college chaplain for 20 years and I learned that you can make all the rules you want in a Residence Hall/dormitory but unless you change the hearts of the kids who live in there things can go very bad very quickly. Jesus knew that the only way you can change a human heart is to love a person unconditionally and be willing to suffer for them. In fact I would venture to say the only real way you can know if you love someone or are loved by them is ask yourself the following questions. Am I willing to carry their cross and suffer for them ?
Would they be willing to carry my cross and suffer for me?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life" As Hurricane Irene comes our way Stay Dry And Stay Safe Look out for your neighbor Amen