22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
August 31, 2014
Jeremiah wonders if he has been duped in his role as a prophet. He is proclaiming God’s Word and he suffers derision and reproach for it.
Shouldn’t preaching God’s Word be easy? People should want to hear it, right?
We might say we want to hear God’s Word but it isn’t always what we want to hear. Sometimes, following God’s Word means we need to make changes in our life, changes that we don’t want to make.
So, when Jeremiah speaks they don’t want to follow, they ridicule him and make him out to be the bad guy.
Jeremiah has grown tired of the suffering so much that he says he is going to stop prophesying. Yet, he realizes he can’t because of the fire in his heart.
Peter has this same zeal to proclaim God’s Word. Last week we heard Peter proclaim Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. In these words we see a great faith in part.
Now, today’s passage picks up where last week left off. For the first time Jesus tells his disciples that he will be arresting, suffer, and be crucified.
Peter’s immediate response is to rebuke Jesus. Can you imagine? He just proclaimed Jesus as the Christ and now he is telling Jesus he’s wrong. How can a person tell Jesus he is wrong?
Of course, we would never tell Jesus what to do! Well, actually we do. Who among us has not at some point told Jesus what we want him to do? There is a fine line to walk in our prayers of asking vs. telling. For instance, when we pray for someone looking for a job, do we tell Jesus exactly what the job should be like or do we ask God to help the person get the job that God says is the right job?
Peter doesn’t really mean to rebuke Jesus. Peter, just like many others, had his expectations of what the Messiah would be like. NO ONE’s expectations including suffering and crucifixion. It won’t make sense.
If we believe in Jesus and do what he asks, shouldn’t life be easy?
Life wasn’t easy for Jesus. It wasn’t easy for Jeremiah or the other prophets. David became a great king but he faced struggles too. Why should we expect any different?
Should we not be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus?
Jesus can do this as Son of God but is it possible for humans?
With God’s grace, absolutely. We see it in the saints. Friday we celebrated the passion of John the Baptist. He denied himself by putting the mission God had given him before his own life. He willing accepted the hardships (his cross) that went with this.
To deny ourselves is not to deny who we are. It’s about letting God transform us into who we are meant to be. Taking up our cross is about being willing to offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice.”
Being Christian is not about being popular. Being Christian is about the Truth that Jesus teaches us. May we always have the gifts of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to know the Truth and the courage to live and proclaim God’s Truth.