Jer 20: 7-9
You seduced me, LORD, and I let myself be seduced;
you were too strong for me, and you prevailed.
All day long I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage I proclaim;
The word of the LORD has brought me
reproach and derision all day long.
I say I will not mention him,
I will no longer speak in his name.
But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding back,
Rom 12: 1-2
I urge you therefore, brothers, 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.
Mt 16: 21-27
From that time on, 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 being 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.”
I N O T H E R W O R D S
Think before your talk. This is easier said than done. Peter, because of his great love for the Master must have meant well when he uttered those words. However, he misses the point that Jesus was trying to drive at. This is what happens when we don’t really listen and understand the words of the other. We can hear the words but fail to listen to the message. If we really want to be of one mind with the Lord then we need to spend more time LISTENING to His voice and to his message to us.
Last year, here in the Archdiocese of Toronto we had a Day of Confessions as part of our celebration of the year of faith. This day of confessions took place after first Friday and just before our parish Lenten confessions. I found myself sitting in the confessional for hours listening to our parishioners who opened their hearts with sincerity and humility and at times with so much pain and anguish. There is a great desire among these people to do the will of God, to observe what God commands but there are also many things in their lives that stop them from doing so. One of these is their relationship with their own family: relationship between husband and wife, children and parents, parents and children and their relationship with other members of the extended family. Some of the dynamics present are lack of patience, misunderstanding, not having enough time, the inability to balance work schedule and time for the family. One can look at these situations as one of crisis but there is another way of looking at this and it is through the eyes of Faith. This situation can also be a kairos moment for us; a time of blessing. Remember what the Gospel today is saying to us: If we want to be of one mind with the Lord and if we want to follow him then let us take our cross, deny our very self and follow him. Our own family, at times can be the very cross that we have to bear. Let us carry our own family with all its joys and sadness and even if it means that we have to be more patient and humble to the point of living outside our own comfort zone. Let us ask the Lord to help us carry our cross, to give us strength so that we may follow Him no matter where. Let us take comfort in the words of Jesus. It is in losing our life (our own comfort zone) that we will protect and preserve our own family.
– Fr. Carlos Macatangga, SVD (Toronto, Canada)