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Necessary Feedback

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Feedback is a useful contribution to any relationship. Most of us rely upon it to determine how we are doing in any given situation. New teachers are observed by more experienced teachers. Interns are guided by residents. Even in personal relationships, giving feedback is the only way to let a friend or a significant other what you are looking for in the relationship.

Oftentimes we forget that Jesus undoubtedly needed feedback as well. Expectations about the Messiah were many and varied; Jesus met none of those expectations. So it is only reasonable to ask his disciples: "Who do people say that I am?" The responses confirm for him that people's expectations often get in the way of that which they hear and see. Peter answers by declaring that Jesus is the Christ. However, even this assertion was based on Peter's expectations, not on the reality playing out around them. When Jesus explained what it meant to be the Messiah, Peter "rebuked" Jesus.

We all come to God with expectations. We all think we have a clear understanding of what God wants from us. Those expectations often color the way we hear the Gospel. This is precisely the reason that we need to hear the Gospel proclaimed over and over again. Each time we hear it, we have the opportunity to come to a clearer understanding of the message. Shedding expectations is just as difficult as shedding a few extra pounds. It is a lifelong task.

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