22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time-A
I Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-9: The word of the Lord has meant insult for me. The Lord is much stronger than us and will always triumph.
II Reading: Romans 12:1-2: Offer your body as a living sacrifice. Our lives are to be changed, but not by the world around us.
Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27: If anyone wants to be a follower of me, let him renounce himself. Jesus’ rebuke to Peter shows that our thoughts are not always in line with God’s way.
The Messiah Foretells His Death and Future Glory( 1st Time):
What has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
In this gospel reading, Jesus taught the hardest lesson. We also see the lesson on suffering provided by Jeremiah. A lesson which Peter and the apostles failed to understand. The Christian communities of all times must learn on the saving act of suffering of Jesus, plan and will of God for humanity.
Paul explained the lesson of Jesus as understood:
1) They should give themselves totally to God. Their whole life should become an offering to him:
i. a living offering, different from the animals offered/killed in the temple of Jerusalem.
ii. a holy offering, a Christian led by the Holy Spirit as a holy and moral life.
iii. an offering pleasing to God, God delights in seeing us living the way Jesus live.
2) In order to do so, we should guide ourselves by the Gospel and not by what people who do not know Christ say or do. To do God’s will entails suffering, just as it cost Christ to suffer and die to obey his Father.
This what to renounce ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow Jesus till the end of life really mean.
Jesus taught the final lesson: joy is never far from suffering. A joy which nothing and no one can take away. We have his promise for it: “your sorrow will turn to joy.” (Jn 16:20)
Jesus revealed that the Son of the living God was going to be killed and raised again from the dead. Jerusalem … that killed the prophets was going to commit the ultimate crime –going to kill God’s own Son (Mt 23:29-31). The disciples could not understand the reasons for their blindness. First the idea of a suffering Messiah differed radically from their own idea of the conquering Messiah (Mt 1:1, 2-1:18, 3-3:11, 11:1-6; Mk 8:27; Lk 7:21), and second, the revelation had been hidden in pictures and symbols.
1. His death required total commitment on his part (v.21-23)
a. His death was necessary: He “must go” to suffer
1) In Jerusalem
2) To suffer
3) To be killed
4) To be raised
b. His death arouses natural man
c. His death shows man to be an adversary of God
d. His death reveals man’s true nature
2. His death demands total commitment from a man (v.24)
a. Must will to follow
b. Must deny self
c. Must take up the cross
d. Must follow Jesus
3. His death offers four arguments for total commitment (v.25-28)
a. An abandonment of this of this life saves a man
b. A man’s soul is worth more than the whole world
c. A day of judgement is coming
d. A promise is given-the promise of never having to taste death
Thought: Suffering will always remain a lesson difficult to understand. eg. The life of Job. Suffering is a mystery in life. only the Spirit can make its meaning clear to us. We must go on learning the lesson why suffering in life? but Christ will never deceive us.
A true Christian is the one who daily renounces, take up his/her cross with determination and joyfully follows Jesus Christ offering his/her life to God daily. Jesus shared his suffering with us and rewarding his true joy in our suffering life and even in death.
Jesus spoke of his resurrection when he spoke of his death which encourages us to bear our cross while here on earth (Lk 9:23).