Twice in today’s Gospel, the disciples are afraid of looking stupid. They don’t understand Jesus, and they are embarrassed by their behavior, so they remain sheepishly quiet.
But their silence builds a wall between them and Jesus. The disciples are understandably confused by Jesus’ prediction of his Passion. They think of the Messiah as a triumphant hero, not as one who suffers. But Jesus has shared something intimate about himself, and by choosing not to ask what Jesus means, the disciples reject a deeper, but difficult, knowledge of Jesus. Conversely, by concealing their ambition, they don’t let Jesus intimately know them either.
Sometimes, rather than risk a difficult conversation, we also settle for the relative comfort of silence. Is there anything you’ve been afraid to ask a friend, or anything you’ve been hiding from them? Is there anything you’re afraid to ask Jesus, or that you’re afraid to let him know?
—Daniel Everson, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the U.S. Central Southern province, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.