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ROUGH CUTS: We must pick up and carry our cross

Today is Sunday, August 30, 2020. Today is also the 5th Sunday of the current month, and is the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar.

The Psalm of the day is, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.”

The 1st Reading for today is from Jeremiah 20:7-9. It says:
You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumph. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message, the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.While I say to myself, I will not mention him. I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. I grow weary holding it in. I cannot endure it.

This Sunday’s 2nd Reading is from Romans 12:1-2.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Today’s Gospel is from Mathew 16:21-27. It talks about Jesus’ passion and discipleship.

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to 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 said to his disciples, “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. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.\

Reflection

Now what does “taking up our cross in obedience” as postulated in the Gospel mean?God called the 20-year-old Jeremiah to be a prophet to the people of Judah. His mission was to admonish them from their depraved and evil way lest doom would come upon them. It was, to say the least, a very difficult mission because most people during Jeremiah’s time listened only to the wisdom of the adult men. Besides, Jeremiah had a speech defect and worst of all, his message was unpalatable. When the doom that Jeremiah predicted did not happen, people mocked and scorned the young prophet. He was accused of treason and attacked physically.        When Jesus sees his death on the cross looming on the horizon, he starts to talk to his disciples about his suffering, death, and resurrection. If the Apostles want to be his true disciples, they should be prepared to suffer along the Bia Dolorosa. Peter remonstrates with Jesus, declaring his allegiance to the Master and assuring Jesus of protection. Suddenly, it is no longer just Peter whom Jesus sees before him but Satan. The devil is putting a stumbling block along the Via Dolorosa. Jesus is teaching his Apostles about fidelity to God in the form of suffering and sacrifice, but Satan is pushing for the soft and sweet life.

Jesus is realistic in facing evil in this world. He works to improve the lives of people who suffer. At the same time, he points out that every struggle or experience of diminishment and death always ends up in new life when we carry our burden in obedience to God and with a joyful disposition.

NB: Our thanks to the St. Paul’s Publication, inc., publisher of the book 365 Days with the Lord, a liturgical biblical diary from where we source the Word of God that we share with our readers every Sunday. This is our own little way of helping in the spreading of the Lord’s teaching.

 

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