If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Mt 16:24)
The Prophet Jeremiah is in anguish because the words of the Lord, which could be instruments of salvation if heeded, fall on deaf ears and hardened hearts. Peter echoes Jeremiah’s anguish today. He rejects the Cross. He does not want the anguish of witnessing his friend fail. We should remember that this is often our human reaction as well. But this is not the end of Peter’s journey; Peter learns to think according to the will of God and literally takes up his cross dying in imitation of him. Brothers and Sisters, the cost of discipleship is high; in fact, to follow Jesus means to imitate him: where the Master goes, the disciple follows. This means we must be willing to accept the Cross in our lives; we must accept the anguish of failing in integrity. But it is precisely from this anguish of having failed in every human sense of the word, that testimony is given. The folly of the Cross becomes the salvation of all. Brothers and sisters, to share in his anguished heart which beats for every human soul. What greater joy could be found?
Questions for us to ponder:
- What/where have I encountered the Cross in my life? Where do I encounter failure from a human perspective? How has God used that failure to bear witness to the hope we should have in him?
- Where or to whom am I called to be a prophet of hope today?
- What sinful habits or tendencies do I tend to use to avoid the Cross in my life?
Today’s readings can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/083020.cfm
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(18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite)