First Reading- Jeremiah 20:7-9
Second Reading- Romans- 12:1-2
Gospel- Matthew 16:21-27
How much more vulnerable can I become? How much more can I withstand? How much longer must I wait to return to normal? Perhaps these are the questions swirling through your mind these days. Certainly, they must have been some of what swirled through Jeremiah’s mind in the first reading. His response was frustration, anger, and outrage towards God for letting him endure so much and for demanding so much. But amidst his raging and foot-stomping he came to the awareness that no matter how challenging life becomes, God is ever-present in our vulnerability and somehow deep inside we feel a spark ignite that gives us strength to endure. Thus, Psalm 63 reminds us that only God can quench the thirst our souls need in this moment.
In the second reading from Paul to the Romans there is once again the affirmation of God’s mercy and instruction to be transformed by the renewal of the mind so that we can discern the will of God not for ourselves alone but for all creation. Can we allow ourselves to be transformed enough so that new structures, mindsets, attitudes, even policies can undo all that has oppressed our neighbors and the world?
Finally, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks us to avoid the obstacles that prevent us from seeing the world through the eyes of God. Jesus challenges Peter, and us, to push away the temptation to deny the reality that there is a cost for being a disciple, to wholeheartedly responding to the will of God. Jesus acknowledges this is not an easy choice, nor should it be taken lightly. Nonetheless, it is a choice to walk with Jesus believing to forfeit one’s earthly life will yield eternal reward. We may not be called to sacrifice our life in the same way as Jesus but through daily sacrifices that cause us to step out of the way so that the greater good can be manifest and that love becomes the central act of our lives.
In all this, we are never alone. We will always have Jesus as a companion along with all those who have gone before us leading us, surrounding us, protecting us along the way!
Sr. Joan Agro, OP