Our Gospel today shows Peter in a different light from last week. Last week we heard Jesus begin the institution of the Church and placed Peter as the head. Today we hear something vastly different. Jesus refers to Peter as Satan and an obstacle. He called him Satan because he was thinking of only earthly practicalities. Last week Peter was praised because of what the Father had revealed to him. Jesus also calls him an obstacle. An obstacle is something that stands against us. Whether it is construction on our way to work, plans that fall through, or something more serious; we handle obstacles in different ways. When we face spiritual obstacles we can be divided and turn to our old self. This is particularly true when we face difficulties from our past that try to convince us that we are not capable of doing God’s will.
Today’s gospel shows Jesus as one who knows what his mission is and that anything that deters him from accomplishing this mission should be avoided. He is deliberate with his words and we catch the fact that he is not joking around. I think that the questions that we need to ask ourselves are: how is the evil trying to get at me? and, secondly, what obstacles come in between God and me? When we are able to honestly answer these two questions, we will be able to follow through with St. Paul’s command to offer ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice to God and do what is good, pleasing, and perfect.