The First Prediction of the Passion The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Thaddaeus

Matthew 16: 21-27


Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.  Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”  He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  Or what can one give in exchange for his life?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,  and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”


Background:  In ancient times David takes a census of the people from Dan (northern territories of Israel) to Beersheba (southern).  It takes nine months and twenty days.  When Jesus takes the Twelve to the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon the countdown to the cross begins from north to south.  The in-gathering of the twelve tribes.  The census of the faithful.  The journey from here to the Passion in Jerusalem will take about nine months and twenty days (about the gestation period of a late term baby).  In this short period of time, Jesus must form His Church.  Last Sunday Matthew describes Peter’s profession of faith.  Jesus gives Simon bar Jonah a new name, Kepha (Ara., “massive rock”), the foundation the Church He will build.  From this point on He begins to explain that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests and the scribes.  In other words, the Great Sanhedrin.


The First Prediction of the Passion:  The Great Sanhedrin is the supreme court of the ancient Jewish state.  It is a body made up of elders, chief priests and scribes.  The elders are influential community leaders; a political class of aristocrats so-called the Sadducees.  The chief priests are high-ranking Pharisees who train regular priests and serve on the Sanhedrin.  The scribes are lawyers, mostly Pharisees at the time of Jesus, who copy and interpret the Torah and the Oral Tradition.  They are a succession of teachers  going back to Moses.  Jesus recognizes the teaching authority of the Sanhedrin when it speaks from the Chair of Moses, that is, “ex cathedra.”  You may had heard the term used in catechism.  Catholics recognize the teaching authority of the Church when it speaks ex cathedra from the Chair of Peter, the authority of binding and loosing given to Peter and his office through the office of the Son of Man.