Reflection: Jesus Says: "Get Behind Me Satan"
by Father Don Thomas
It has been two thousand years since Jesus Christ spoke those words to Peter, as recorded in Mark’s Gospel, on the occasion when Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him for saying that He was going to be handed over to His enemies, rejected and put to death. Peter was determined not to let that happen, and Christ let Peter know that he was thinking like a man of the world and not like one who understood the Will of His Heavenly Father. In this reflection, let us consider some of the reasons why in our own day and age this same rebuke of Christ’s could be justifiably directed at so many of us who call ourselves His followers: “Get behind Me, Satan!”Christ taught us that He came into the world not to being peace, but division. He specified that mother would be against father, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, children against their parents and vice-versa, and on and on. How unmistakably true and prophetic were His words. He indicated that His ways are not always our ways, or vice-versa. Most decidedly we have proceeded to demonstrate that the Will of God continues to be rejected very often in our every day lives, thus provoking the disapproval of Christ, our Savior, leading Him to say once again “Get behind Me, Satan,” directing the command to us rather than to Peter. What would warrant such a rebuke in our day and age? While there are hundreds of reasons, let us consider a few.
To begin with, let us consider the lack of respect for life. As the Author of life itself, God’s Will is clearly ridiculed and rejected, His plan for creating and preserving life is mocked and disregarded on a daily basis, and even among Catholics the teachings of the Church representing God’s Will are very often disregarded, made fun of as being out of date or old-fashioned, abusive and offensive sex is glorified, artificial birth control is hailed as a blessing and abortion and other forms of murder are routinely acceptable.
Many Catholics, contrary to the Will of God and the teachings of the church that they claim to be members of, continue to frequent the sacraments—all those, of course, except Confession or Reconciliation. They knowingly and deliberately reject the Will of God in favor of doing their own Will, all the while endeavoring to convince themselves that everything is all right, even though Christ is lurking in the background whispering “Get behind Me, Satan.” Yes, Satan is very much alive, taking great delight in the division that is so obvious in our churches, our schools, our governments and in our families. How prophetic and true were Christ’s words two thousand years ago: “Those who are not with Me are against Me.”Another illustration of man’s defiance to the Will of Christ’s Heavenly Father is boldly exhibited, relative to the married life. Recall at this time, that we are not talking about people who never heard of God, but rather of intelligent people of various denominations who strongly believe in God and His Holy Will, but for political, financial, social or many other prejudicial reasons conveniently set God’s Will off to the side in favor of their own Will. Such followers of Christ, as are Catholics, because of pride, arrogance and stubbornness of heart, should not be surprised to hear the words of Christ ringing in their ears: “Get behind Me, Satan.” In no way does God approve of same-sex marriages, fornication, adultery or other sins against the sixth commandment. Another point we must grasp, whether we like it or not, is that when it comes to the Ten Commandments, God does not approve for men what He condemns for women. He did not say, for example, “Women, do not kill; women, do not steal; women, do not commit adultery.” Oh, no, the Will of God is all-inclusive, and He makes it known to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, Who, in turn, makes it known to us through His Church, members of which are parents and grandparents, teachers and all legitimately established forms of authority. To the Church, especially, has He made it clear when He said to the Apostles: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me by my Father. As the Father has sent Me, now I am sending you, and he who hears you is hearing Me, and he who rejects you is rejecting Me and the One Who sent Me. Go forth and teach and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In the light of these words, should any Christian be shocked or surprised to hear Christ saying to him or her “Get behind Me, Satan?” I don’t think so.
In conclusion, let me assure you that there is no double standard where God is concerned. This message is for everyone: Priests, Religious, Laity alike. The truth is not always easy to face or accept, but it is the right thing to do. Convenience can never be the standard for morality. Doing God’s Will can. No matter what sins, mistakes or human weakness we may be ever guilty of, in a spirit of humility let us tell God we are sorry and His mercy and forgiveness are there for the asking. God’s Will is our salvation. Going contrary to God’s Will knowingly and deliberately is our biggest mistake, and merit’s the rebuke that Christ gave to Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan.”
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