22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle A, Year I)
September 3, 2017
Jesus enlightens the hearts of those who trust in God’s ways.
Our hearts are enlightened when we trust in God’s plan for our life.
“Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 16:25b)
In the gospel of Matthew Jesus says: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,” (Mt 16:24). He teaches us that to deny oneself is to make a choice between our desires and God’s will for us. It means to give up our preferences and to do what God plans for our life, to take up the cross of doing what is right and be willing to bear it. Carrying our cross is also accepting and unavoidably living the inconveniences, bearing the sufferings and sorrows of life that we have to endure. Jesus points out that the way to become His disciples involves dying to self, bearing our crosses and readily committing to follow Him. Our community word this month – Jesus enlightens the hearts of those who trust in God’s ways – encourages us to stand firm in faith as we seek first God’s kingdom.
Peter was just favored as the “Rock” and upon him Jesus will build His church. Suddenly this rock turns sandy and unreliable. “God forbid, Lord!” Peter rebukes Jesus. It is a rejection of the cross. In one instant, Peter is walking in the Spirit, then in the next he is thinking about himself. Peter calls Jesus “Lord”, but tells Him what to do. But Jesus calls him abruptly out of his comfort zone into reality where suffering must be faced. He reminds Peter that he only sees things from human perspective and does not understand God’s plan.
Sometimes, we too fail right after having a great spiritual victory because pride and self-reliance creep in on us. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot claim Jesus as Lord but do not believe in what He says and disobey His commands. In like manner, we cannot ask Him for good things and blessings if we do not accept His answers along the way. The cost of discipleship is high because many times we have to give up our tendency to be self-sufficient and our attachment to our earthly desires. And this requires us to discern what God want us to do.
To be called disciples and followers of Jesus we have to embrace our own cross to attain eternal glory. Our daily cross involves constant courage that we need to face all demands of our Christian faith even if we have to bear hardships through it. In living up to this, Jesus offers us the opportunity to “lose our life” with the assurance and hope of gaining eternal life. As followers of Jesus we should let Him show us the way. Instead of seeking our own personal gain, we should allow every experience – even in moments of distress, struggles and difficulties, to draw us into a closer relationship with our Lord who continues to invite us to place our burdens upon His shoulders.
We may have been used to so much comfort and indifference, bringing us to avoid confronting life’s trials. We tend to withdraw rather than deal with the possibilities laid before us. This is the reason why we live an unfulfilled life, filled with regrets and disappointments. A life of constantly running from our responsibilities exhausts our strength. It moves us away from the destiny planned by God for us. The theme for this week – Our hearts are enlightened when we trust in God’s plan for our lives, will enable us to look to the Cross not as a sign of pain, but as a symbol of hope. Our faith has brought us to the living God and urges us to bear our crosses daily to the end.
The Cross shows how our rebellion can distance us from the Lord and can cause pain to the very heart of God. If we ignore the cross of life, we will never grow out of or mature beyond our comfort zones. Be it emotional, financial or personal, the Lord says that carrying the cross is how our discipleship becomes real. It is inevitable if we need to find our way to full discipleship. Jesus teaches us not be afraid to take risks knowing that this is the only way to discover our life. Let us then stand firm and hold on to His promise – “…whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,” (Mt 16:25b).
Almighty God, Your will is our salvation and You desire only what is best for us. Grant us the grace to participate in Your saving works by following Your ways and cooperating in Your holy will. Lead and direct us that we will not be a stumbling block to Your divine plan for Your name sake. Amen.
1. What are the things and circumstances in my life that I have to give up so that I can follow Jesus and fulfill His plans for me?
2. How can I show that Jesus is truly my Lord and my Savior?
This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
September 3, 2017 (Sun) – Jer 20:7-9/Ps 63:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9/Rom 12:1-2/Mt 16:21-27
September 4, 2017(Mon) – 1Thes 4:13-18/Ps 96:1, 3, 4, 5, 11, and 12, 13/Lk 4:16-30
September 5, 2017(Tues) – 1Thes 5:1-6, 9-11/Ps 27:1-4, 13, 14/Lk 4:31-37
September 6, 2017(Wed) – Col 1:1-8/Ps 52:10-11/Lk 4:38-44
September 7, 2017 (Thur) – Col 1:9-14/Ps 98:2-6/Lk 5:1-11
September 8, 2017 (Fri) – Mi 5:1-47/Ps 13:6, 6/My 1:1-16
September 9, 2017(Sat) – Col 1:21-33/Ps 54:3, 4, 6, 8/Lk 6:1-5
“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”