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  • Deacon Chris

Schadenfreude in Jesus' time

Growing up with two siblings, I would often get a small twinge of happiness when one of them was in trouble. One of the perks of having to live with siblings was enjoying these moments of happiness. On one level, it was a pleasure to know that they had done something wrong; on another level, there was the happiness that comes from witnessing the disciplining process. Sometimes, if I was feeling particularly bold, I would do my part and offer some unsolicited advice for punishment. This never went well. I was a great brother.


In our gospel story this past week, I imagine the disciples have similar feelings as Jesus, after being rebuked by Peter, says in response, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” I can almost envision John, Matthew, or any of the other disciples subtly raising their hands to offer some unsolicited advice for Peter’s punishment. But before they can offer their ideas, Jesus turns to all of them and says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” I imagine that everyone in that group sat there, stunned by the force of the statement. I have heard and read this statement hundreds of times and it still stuns me. How could it not? Take up your cross and follow me.