This week's Gospel reading is the core of the gospel of Matthew. This is when Jesus reveals his identity and his purpose to his friends. Peter identifies him as the Messiah and Jesus drops the bomb about what being the Messiah means:
Being the Messiah means not success, but failure.
Being the Messiah means not conquering the world, but suffering what the world is and does and means.
Being the Messiah does not mean throwing out the oppressors, but coming under the power of the oppressors.
Being the Messiah means not fixing all things but bearing all things, suffering all things.
Messiah = Cross.
And if we are to become followers of the Messiah, we must also become bearers of the cross, the cross that suffers, the cross that bears, the cross that yields to power, the cross that fails rather than become part of the system of cruelty and oppression, the cross that finds power in powerlessness, the cross that conquers by being vanquished.
Are you ready to take up that cross? What's getting in your way today?