Sunday XXII A
Sunday XXII A
To tell you the truth, I do not find anything strange about Simon Peter's reaction to the one who was just communicating. The Gospel says that we have just heard that Jesus, at one point in his missionary journey through the lands of Palestine, announced to his closest friends what would happen next, which was not precisely a bouquet of roses or rapid success: "I have To go to Jerusalem, there I have to suffer much from the political and religious authorities and lawyers, I will be executed and on the third day I will be resurrected. "
What Peter recorded was that of "I will be executed". And he could not anymore and burst: "This can not happen in any way, this must never happen."
I began by saying that I did not find anything strange about Peter's reaction. A little more than 400 years ago, a missionary of European origin entered China, was the first Jesuit to do so, was named Matteo Ricci. His high knowledge of mathematics and his mastery of the Chinese language led him to establish contact with the emperor of the Ming dynasty who received him in Beijing. And it happened that the emperor had a reaction quite similar to the one that had Simon Peter. Father Ricci, who has gone down in history as one of the greatest and original missionaries, was about to provoke a scandal of such magnitude that almost cost him his life. The emperor could not bear the words of the Catholic missionary: how it was possible that what he had just said was true, that the one who showed him hanging on a cross, the one so cruelly tormented in the torture, was "the son of heaven." In the head of the fisherman of Galilee of the first century, and in the head of the Chinese emperor of the sixteenth century, it was not in the least that two such opposing concepts were related: death and God, cross and glory.
I have brought to light two concrete cases, that of Simon Peter and that of the Emperor Vanli. But they are not isolated facts. It has been a constant, in the bimillennial history of the Church, this conflict between cross and divinity. Also for our distant ancestors, the cross behaved in great conflict. In the early Christian period, and later in the medieval period, the privileged type of cross was called "crux gemmata", which means "jeweled cross." They did not resist the naturalistic representations of the crucified, they did not resist the crudeness of the cross and chose to soften it and embellish it with pearls and diadems, and cover the nakedness with a white robe and replace the crown of thorns with a gold one.
We might ask ourselves who is right: we are right, here and there crucifixes crucified everywhere, showing blood spilled, muscles contorted and veins disjointed, or were our ancestors who chose to cross ennoblecidas and crucified absent?
What would Christ say? I would say what he once said. Let us return, then, to the Gospel of today. Let me point out two moments of the scene. There is a hard, especially hard moment of Jesus, the moment that confronts Peter and lets him go: "Far from me demon, you think like a man, you do not think like God." The first lesson Jesus teaches us today: the cross is inescapable in a builder of the kingdom of God, we must not silence or sweeten it; Can only be assumed: "Whoever wants to follow me, who carries his cross."
There is, however, another moment of Jesus that we must not silence. It is the moment that says: "I will be executed and on the third day I will be resurrected." We are guilty if we hold "I will be executed" and will not retain "I will be resurrected". Let the problems of pure iconography, of the rough cross or of the jeweled cross leave the artists of each generation and culture to represent Christ in their own way. But let us take charge of whether we leave Christ dead forever or keep Him alive forever. Let's not forget the "third day"! Do not forget the goal as we walk. Let's not celebrate any Friday that does not wait for Sunday, nor cross that does not give rise to resurrection.