Do not run away from that Cross!
Readings: 1st: Jer 20: 79 ; Ps 63; 2nd: Rom 12:1-2; Gos: Mt 16:21-27
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the twenty second Sunday of ordinary time, the Church, encourages us to face and overcome our obstacles in order to be truly happy in life.
In the first reading, Jeremiah lamented: “Lord you have seduced me; you have overpowered me.” He simply complained about the toughness of his mission. However, God insisted that He has chosen him even from his mother’s womb (Jer 1:4-10).
The suffering of Jeremiah, reminds us that nothing can prevent the mission of God, not even our resistance. After submitting to God, eventually, the Jeremiah who was very timid, and could not speak, became transformed. At times, we over assume that our mission must be easy at all times. Unfortunately, it is not always so.
In the second reading, Paul employed the language of grace, rather than that of law to implore us: “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” Here, Paul calls us to submit completely to God. This total surrender, is essential to our happiness in life.
Of course, to offer oneself completely means accepting all that comes with it. It means, participating in Christ’s life and death, with our eyes fixed on his glory. It means that, now, Christ lives and works in us through the Holy Spirit (Gal 2:20).
At times in life, some of us think that only those who protect us, are the ones who love us most. While those who tell us the truth about the reality of life, and urge us to face our problems with courage rather than denying or avoiding them hate us.
Today’s gospel teaches otherwise. In life, there is a path that we must follow. This is because, it is an inevitable one to our success. While Christ saw this clearly in his mission for the salvation of humanity, Peter did not.
Peter thought he was doing Christ a great favor, by trying to protect and tell him what he thinks Christ wants to hear. However, he was wrong, because that was an inevitable path for the salvation of humanity. Of Course, Christ rebuked him.
Hence, the exchange of words between Christ and Peter today, reminds us of a very important truth, that difficult moments and obstacles are inevitable in life. Surely, they make us uncomfortable, molest us, and even threaten our entire existence.
However, they are paths that we must follow to success. We cannot deny or avoid them, because that will mean remaining where we are, without progress. Each obstacle we face and overcome courageously in life, takes us to a higher and happier level in life.”
Peace be with you all!