To All at St. Francis,

Matthew 16: 21-28

Why would anybody want to be a Christian? Denying yourself. Carrying your cross. Following Jesus? Why would anyone want to do that? Today’s Gospel is about the difficult task of following Jesus. Why do we do it? Why do we encourage others to do it?

Look at the Book of Acts, the believers are persecuted and even killed and yet the church continued to grow! Why would anyone want to be a Christian? Why would anyone want to be part of a. group that was being persecuted, jailed, and killed? What was/is it about Christians that would make others want to join them-even with the threat of suffering? What is (or should be) so attractive about Christians that others are willing to share in those benefits in spite of the difficulties?

Jesus’ scandalous call, then to take up the cross and follow is a call to martyrdom, to die as Jesus does. Such is the risk of continuing Jesus’ countercultural work of proclaiming and demonstrating God’s kingdom here on earth.

Peter who we thought he knew who Jesus is You are the Christ, Son of the living God but fails to believe that Jesus would have to suffer and die. Jesus’ rebuke Get behind me Satan, indicates the Peter here, like Satan in the temptation story, is trying to lead Jesus away from the suffering and death of the cross.

So why be a Christian? Because we are not afraid of death or dying. We know that the power of the Resurrection is stronger than death. We are sons and daughters of the living God.

Peace & All Good,

Fr. Joe