22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A – 29th / 30th August, 2020

This gospel contains the first of three predictions of his passion and death that Jesus makes along his journey to Jerusalem. Matthew tells the story of that journey across the next four chapters of his gospel. Peter is highly disturbed by the predictions of Jesus’ suffering, but is soundly rebuked. The contrast between this text and the gospel of the previous week is stark! In the immediately prior episode, Peter is praised and rewarded for his sublime affirmation of faith, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ In this text, Peter’s lack of understanding, both of what that means and of Jesus’ mission, causes him to be ridiculed as an obstacle to the divine mission. While we may have some sympathy for Peter in wanting to spare Jesus the pain and suffering he predicts, what is at issue is Peter’s failure to see that the cross is part of the plan and that discipleship will also involve the cross. Taking up the cross, however, will result in great reward and ultimate vindication when the time of judgment comes.