Theme: WE ARE TO SUFFER AND SACRIFICE FOR LOVE OF GOD AND LOVE OF NEIGHBOR
- Jeremiah 20:7-9;
- Psalm 62 (63): 2-6. 8-9. R/ v. 2;
- Romans 12:1-2
- Matthew 16:21-27
Today is the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that it is not enough to serve; we must also suffer and sacrifice for the love of God and for the love of neighbor, and for the sanctification and salvation of the world!
The gospel today tell us that Jesus predicted his suffering, death and resurrection for the first time, and immediately Peter protested that this must not happen to Jesus. But Jesus called Peter, Satan, and told him to get behind him, because he was an obstacle in his path.
But more importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus told his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him. For anyone who saves his life will lose it, but anyone who loses his life for the sake of Jesus will find it! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 21:24-25; SM)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Jeremiah also suffered and sacrificed for preaching the word of God. Jeremiah was ridiculed, insulted and derided for preaching the word of God. In fact he was also beaten and put in stocks. (Jr 20:2) Thus we read in the first reading:
“I am a daily laughing-stock, everybody’s butt. Each time I speak the word, I have to howl and proclaim: ‘Violence and ruin!’ The word of the Lord has meant for me insult, derision, all day long.” (Jr 20:7b-8; SM)
The responsorial psalm tells us that the psalmist is longing for God. (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.” (Ps 62 (63): 2; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza tells us that the psalmist is separated from God (v. 2; SM). The second and third stanzas tell us that the psalmist longs for God in the Temple (vv. 3-6; SM). The fourth stanza tells us that this is based on the psalmist’s intimate relationship with God (v.8-9; SM).
Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us to offer our living bodies, that is, our whole living selves, as a holy sacrifice to God.
The Jews and the pagans offered dead animals for sacrifice, but we are to offer our living bodies, that is, our whole living selves, as spiritual sacrifices to God! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Think of God’s mercy, my brothers, and worship him, I beg you, in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God.” (Rm 12:1; SM)
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will help us carry our crosses and follow Jesus to suffer, die and rise from the dead for love of God and love of neighbor and for the sanctification and salvation of the whole world!
Again, a happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!