Today’s reflection was written by Chad Puclowski, campus minister and science faculty member at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Massachusetts.
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Discipleship is at the heart of Xaverian mission and identity, and, in fact, not only are we called to be disciples, but the Fundamental Principles tell us to “Go, then, to all people everywhere, and make them my disciples.” Discipleship can be a daunting goal on its own, calling for a profound understanding of oneself as well as of the larger mission of the Church. It is no surprise that despite our eagerness to echo Mary’s “Yes!” to follow Christ, we may fall short of the mission Jesus calls each of us to accept and follow. Peter’s dialogue with Jesus in today’s Gospel reading may teach us much about mission.
We know what Peter can’t yet understand: only through the lens of Christ’s Passion, death, and resurrection can His mission be more fully understood. Peter cannot yet go where Jesus will go because he does not have a clear enough vision of what discipleship will entail. In fact, when faced with Christ’s imminent death, the mission becomes overwhelming and he denies Jesus three times. There is an echo of Peter’s initial response to Jesus’ call at the beginning of his discipleship: “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Lk, 5:8) Even then, Peter’s vision of mission was not clear, but his heart drew him on toward Jesus.
Theodore James Ryken’s words echo Christ’s relationship with Peter, and with us all: “God is not obliged to give an account to anybody, even if He wants to use a sinner.” Jesus knew that Peter wasn’t ready, but he also knew he would be if he stayed true to His mission. God is willing to use each of us to bear witness to the Gospels if we are willing to grow in a deeper relationship to him and through that relationship accept the challenging call of discipleship.
Take 15 – 20 minutes for the following exercise
Consider your favorite saint, or saints. Spend time in prayer thinking about why you find them so inspiring. Depending upon what is comfortable to you, write or think about the characteristics that define their discipleship.
Pray over what you can do to incorporate those aspects that you admire most.
Pick one aspect and write it down. Place it in a location that is prominent to you throughout holy week and beyond.
God of Light and of Life, you have given us The Way by sending Creation your only Son. May we who follow His passion and death experience His resurrection and allow it to gift us with the energy, compassion, and wisdom to follow Jesus Christ’s Mission. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.