Friday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: Eccl 3:1-11;  Lk 9:18-22

We have three tasks in life: What to believe, how to behave, and what to care about. Determining these draws on three capacities we have for making moral decisions: Perception helps us determine what to believe; Disposition helps us decide on behavior; and what we most care about becomes our Identity.  The gospel today addresses Perception, one’s point of view.  Perception is the ability to notice the morally relevant features of a situation and the readiness to respond appropriately.

So, Jesus wants to know how the crowds perceive Him and how the disciples in particular perceive Him. What are they noticing? What are they paying attention to? That they perceive Him as John the Baptist or Elijah or an ancient prophet shows they are in the ballpark, they are noticing the right things. They have some sense that He brings peace, that He is a savior…and that they needed one. Peter, on the other hand, hits a home run!

Jesus notes that the crowds and the disciples contrast sharply with the perceptions of the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. The religious establishment is seeking a scapegoat. They believe the community would be at peace if they could eliminate Him. We know from the Passion Sunday and Good Friday gospels that communities that use a scapegoat do not need a savior.