Jesus could see clearly where he was heading. By his teaching and his
ministry, he had made powerful enemies of the elders, chief priests and
scribes. He foresaw that these religious leaders would plot to bring about his death. In today’s Gospel, he begins to warn his disciples of what lies ahead.
Peter reacts as any friend would. He is horrified at the idea of Jesus suffering in this way, and prays that it won’t happen. But Jesus rebukes Peter harshly. Last Sunday, Peter was named as the ‘Rock’ on which the Church would be built. Today, he is a stumbling block – an obstacle in the way, as Jesus sets out for Jerusalem to complete his Father’s plan. Jesus will not hesitate to follow the road all the way to the Cross.
Jesus’ teaching in today’s Gospel makes clear the cost of being his disciple. We may have to change our whole way of life. We may be misunderstood, excluded or ridiculed like the prophet Jeremiah, as we hear in the First Reading. We may wonder if we have even chosen the right path. Each of us has to take up our cross, and our cross may seem heavy and painful. But if we follow the Lord faithfully, he promises us eternal life.