8-30-2020 Reflection

Reflection for 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading:Jeremiah 20:7-9
Second Reading:Romans 12:1-2
Gospel:Matthew 16:21-27

Perhaps you recall last Sunday’s gospel, where Peter professes the identity of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. While Peter understood Jesus as our Redeemer, he didn’t understand the divinely appointed means of redemption. Peter does not want to see his Master and friend suffer. Jesus rebukes 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 goes on to speak about the cross. 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. This is one of the paradoxes that Jesus presents to us in the gospel. The cross will always be a part of our lives. The current pandemic and all the far reaching impacts on our lives is a kind of cross that we have carrying for the past almost six months. We carried the cross when the church was closed and we couldn’t receive Holy Eucharist or go to Confession…when we had to isolate ourselves or quarantine…in the lost of income of employment…not being able to socially gather with family and friends…and in some many other ways.

When the cross comes in life, we have the choice to either accept or reject it. When we reject the cross, it becomes a stumbling block to us. However, we we accept the cross, imitating Jesus Christ, it leads us to everlasting life and fullness of life in this world. The paradox Jesus presented in Mt16:25 (whoever wishes to save his life…) is first of all fulfilled in Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus loses His life on the cross, rises from the dead, gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit and the church is born. Losing oneself is a transformation of our will. We give ourselves in service to others and are transformed more and more into an instrument of God’s love. Then the will of God reigns on earth, as in heaven. We do not lose our own will, but the divine will becomes the operating will. Our Blessed Mother’s gave her fiat to the angel Gabriel and said “yes”to the will of God throughout her whole life. Through Mary’s intercession, may we too assent to the will of God, so it may be the operating will in our lives.

May God bless us all always!
Deacon Mike