Thinking. It's an interesting concept. We think all the time. As I write this I'm thinking about thinking. Now you're probably thinking about thinking.
Jokes aside, today's Gospel reveals to us something mind-blowing about the way we think:
Jesus and his disciples set outfor the villages of Caesarea Philippi.Along the way he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that I am?”They said in reply,“John the Baptist, others Elijah,still others one of the prophets.”And he asked them,“But who do you say that I am?”Peter said to him in reply,“You are the Christ.”Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.He began to teach themthat the Son of Man must suffer greatlyand be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,and be killed, and rise after three days.He spoke this openly.Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”Mk 8:27-33
That last line hit me like a frying pan to the face, because the implication is that we can think like God. OK before you start calling me a heretic and a blasphemer let me make it clear: God is infinitely bigger, greater and God-lier than you or I can ever attempt to be in this life; but we DO believe that we can begin to enter into the mystery of God.
Throughout the history of humanity we have seen many great figures who have thought "God thoughts": Mother Teresa and Blessed Pope John Paul II are two who immediately come to mind. Currently Pope Francis is showing us just how simple it is to be God-like in our world.
So how do we think "God thoughts"? There's the old cliche' WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? I think there's a better question: how would Jesus think? What we see in the Gospels is that Jesus was constantly on about his Father's business. In every situation he finds himself in, Jesus seeks the Father's will. That's big picture thinking. God has the big picture, so to seek God's will is to seek to see the bigger picture, to look beyond ourselves and the immediate situation.
Big picture thinking needs to be accompanied by big picture ACTIONS. Jesus not only saw the big picture, but acted on it: preaching, teaching, healing and eventually dying for that big picture. We get it easy because most of us won't be physically crucified, but if we look around our world we can see that humble, love-motivated actions are severely lacking.
In today's Gospel reading Jesus is telling Peter (and us reading it today) to think "God thoughts", to see the big picture and to do everything we can to make that picture a reality. That is the foundation of Heaven on earth. That is what vocation is all about: seeing the bigger picture for your life and the world you live in and making that picture a reality. So, get thinking!