22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 30, 2020 22 nd Sunday of Ordinary Time — Gospel Reflections

There is an ancient legend about Peter, which became the basis for a famous novel and motion picture, At the time of the great persecution under Nero, the Christians of Rome told Peter to leave. "You're too valuable,; they said. "Get out of town! Find your safety! Go to another place and preach the Gospel." Peter hastily hurried out of town as fast as he could. But as he hurried along the
AppianWay, away from the Eternal City, he was met by Christ, going toward the city. Peter said to him in
Latin, "Where are you going, Lord?" To which Jesus replied, "Back to Rome, to be
crucified with my people. Where are you going, Peter?" Peters eyes filled with tears of remorse, as he
turned and walked back to Rome, where according to tradition, he was crucified head downward, feeling
that he was not worthy to die in the same manner as had his Lord. Jesus question to Peter comes to us
also. "Where are you going?" Are we going with Christ, or away from him and from his cross? That is the
really important question. It doesn't matter how far we have traveled. What does matter is the direction
in which we are going (http://frtonushomillies.com/
The readings for this Sunday remind us that Christians are called to live their lives in a different way
from others around them. Christian discipleship demands honesty, the willingness to suffer ("take up
your cross"), generosity ( " to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God";), and readiness to follow
Jesus by obeying his commandment of love.
Today's readings explain how this Christian mission should be accomplished. They explain how we
should know and live the will of God, accepting the suffering involved in it. These readings also tell us
that suffering is an integral part of our earthly life, but it is also our road to glory. There is no crown
without a cross. Jeremiah, in the first reading, is a certainly a prototype of the suffering Christ. He tried
to live the will of God bravely facing confrontations and persecution, and he continued to proclaim his
message because the message itself "becomes like a fire , burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it."
In the second reading, Paul advises the Romans and us (Rom 12:1-2): to "offer our bodies as a living
sacrifice" to God by explicitly rejecting the ungodly behavior of the world around us and by discerning
and doing the will of God. In today's Gospel, Jesus takes his disciples by surprise when, after Peter's
great confession of faith, Jesus announces 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." After correcting
Peter's protest, Jesus announces the three conditions of Christian discipleship: "Deny yourself, take up
your cross and follow me."
Life messages: We need to be "extremophiles" for Christ: True disciples of Christ are : a) truly
compassionate: they are willing to visit and help the infected and the sick in hospitals, the incontinent
elderly, the handicapped and those who suffer dementia in nursing homes, and AIDS patients in
hospices; b) truly humble: they are able to see that every good gift comes from God alone, and that His
gifts to us of time, personal talents, and resources should inspire gratitude, not pride; c) truly patient:
they are committed to working with challenging children, adolescents with problems, young adults who
are struggling with their Faith, with the intellectually challenged and with those suffering dementia; d)
truly forgiving: they are willing to forgive not just once, or twice, but again and again; e) truly loving:
they willingly visit people in prisons, in retirement homes, and in homeless shelters; and f) truly faithful:
they are living out a committed, trusting relationship with God, with spouse, with family and friends.

 

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