30TH AUGUST, 2020.
†22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME:
Jer 20:7-9/Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9/Rom 12:1-2/Mat 16:21-27
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)
Today’s Gospel passage seems to present a sharp contrast to that of last Sunday, even though it is not the case. It is amazing that Peter who was being praised by his master for allowing the Holy Spirit to influence him in order to reveal the identity of Jesus, is today being rebuked to get behind for allowing the devil to deceive him that suffering should be far from Lord.
What changed? Could it be as a result of the extreme love he had for his master that he could not imagine Jesus to suffer? He bodly chose his words, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Jesus used the opportunity to teach Peter and all his disciples that a disciple ought to follow and not be ahead and instruct the master.
By this, we would understand that following Jesus is like desiring the rose flower where one must pass through the thorny stem before reaching the beautiful flower. Just as night comes before the day, so must cross come before the crown. Anyone who preaches that Christianity is all-rosy and trouble-free religion is an enemy of Christ and full of satanic ideas.
Such a person must be asked to get behind with his/her wishful thinking. Any attempt to find Jesus without the cross ends up in finding the cross without Jesus.
In the 1st Reading, Jeremiah too, seemingly might have conceived the idea that following the Lord is free from sorrows. His enemies arrested him, beat him up and dragged him to court, and he felt being abandoned by God.
He was so shocked that God had left him to suffer violent persecution, and concluded, “O Lord, you have deceived me…” But he later understood that despite all trials he could not abandone his prophetic mission.
Such is an invitation Paul gives to us as Christians; to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Sacrifice must be poured down in order to cause effect. We must be ready to pour down our lives in sorrow in order to gain eternal joy, for day comes after night.
~•That Christ may nurture in us what is good and keep safe what is nurtured
~•That we may avoid subtle temptation of desiring Christ without the cross
~•That Christ may restore the hope of our pupils and students who have lost hope due to the adverse effect of covid 19 pandemic.
Lord hear us