News
Blog

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 30, 2020

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 30, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 20:7-9

Psalm 63

Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 12:1-2

Matthew 16:21-27

 

It is a known fact that many of us are influenced by the advertisements of various products.  Most of these products are designed to make us happy.  You will be happy if you drive a certain car, wear certain clothing , use a particular vacuum clearer, and my personal favorite, beauty and weight loss products to make you more beautiful and become fit and trim.   However, would any of these products truly make us a better person?  Will any of these products fulfill the promise that Jesus is offering us in today’s Gospel narrative?

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus is, in His own way, advertising a product.  The name of the product is the “Kingdom of God.”  We can all have what our Lord offers because of His sacrifice on the cross.  The way to acquire the “Kingdom of God” is through our individual discipleship.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Therefore, the ingredient in order to become disciples is self-denial and even a bit of suffering.  My friends it takes courage to be a disciple of Christ.  As we enjoy all of the freedoms we are blessed with by living in the United States I would like you to consider the plight of the Christians in Iraq,  Iran, North Korea, Libya, Somalia as well as many other countries that have persecuted people for their Christian and other religious  beliefs.  Think of our sister and brother Christians and their commitment to discipleship, think about the cross they bear and think about their individual courage.  Please pray for them.

Last Sunday we heard the great profession by Peter that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the Living God.  Peter spoke for himself and for the other disciples.  What Peter didn’t realize is that his profession was also a commitment.  It was a commitment to their fidelity and to their call to discipleship.

Today we hear how Jesus brings the dimension of His being the Messiah and how the disciples begin to understand His meaning.  Jesus must go to Jerusalem (which means House of Peace) and face the music of His mission on earth as well as His destiny.  He is to suffer because of His mission.  He must be killed because of His message.  He will be raised on the third day because of His obedience.

However, here comes Peter who attempts to prevent the mission’s final act of love and fidelity.  Peter who just last week was called the “Rock” becomes the “Block!”  Our Lord tells them that He will go with or without His followers and tells Peter that he is still thinking totally according to his own human ways and that there is something more that humanity here.

The Gospel for today ends with Jesus’ making clearer to the disciples, and to us, what it means to think differently from the “human” way.  Thomas Merton once described discipleship as, “An exchange of expectations.  It is finding or grasping switches to losing and surrendering.  Gaining real life which will endure for eternity is gained by letting go as ultimately important all those things which last for a blink or two.”  Indeed, it takes courage to be a disciple.

We practice courage, commitment and discipline throughout our entire lives.  It takes courage and discipline to rid a person of an addiction such as alcoholism, gambling, controlled substance abuse, pornography and all the rest that we can add to the list.  But doesn’t it also take courage and commitment as a Catholic to ensure that Mass is attended every week (in person or virtually,) the sharing in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (when possible,) the support and stewardship of our parish community, and to ensure that the Catholic education of our children is fulfilled in accordance with our baptismal promise?  Additionally, obeying the commands of Jesus to love God and neighbor?  Good habits are hard to break but I believe that bad habits are even harder to break.  We must have courage, commitment and discipleship and share in the suffering of Christ – meaning the carrying of our own individual cross.

Sisters and brothers, most of the products being sold on TV have a limited guarantee.  Our Lord Jesus is guaranteeing the real product with an eternal warranty – the Kingdom of God!

Question of the Day: How will you allow Jesus teach you and your children the good fruits of being His disciples on earth?  

Prayer:  Lord, may Your blessings descend upon me as I proclaim Your Gospel message to everyone I meet.  Help me to be Your faithful servant forever.

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

Prosit

 

addiction-support family find-us history grief-or-loss marriage mens storiespng testimonial womens young-adulthood healing our-grounds prayers calendar malvern-live retreats2go plan-your-visit donate