“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself”
This is a quote from A Course in Miracles.
The words come to my mind when I reflect on the Gospel Reading for the Second Sunday in Lent, from Mark 8:31-38. In verse 35 Jesus says, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it”. Rebuking Peter, Jesus said, “For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things” (verse 33).
In Mark 8:29 Peter had confessed, “You are the Christ”, when Jesus asked his disciples, “What about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter’s response is in contrast to the crowd’s thought that Jesus was either John the Baptist, Elijah or just one of the prophets. One has to concede that Peter – and the disciples – saw “the Christ” in human perspectives, not in God’s design.
In fact, the central message in this Gospel Reading is denying oneself, taking up one’s cross and following Jesus. That, as Jesus warned his disciples (prompting the rebuke) means following on his path: “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed” (verse 31).
Divine things reside in the soul of every human being: Love, peace, compassion, forgiveness, and happiness. These are “the things of God” as the NIV renders verse 33. Yet, tragically, as we all can see from the chaos, strife, greed and vengeance in our world today, we are driven by human things – the personality that is the product of the five senses.
In Lent we strive to tap into the soul because that is where we find divine power to follow in Jesus’ footsteps as true disciples; and that is authentic power. Think for a moment: The same energy expended in weapons, wars and destruction can also be channeled to peace and preservation. One is the human mind the other divine mind.