Sunday, August 31, 2014
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-9
2nd Reading: Romans 12:1-2
Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27
Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem; he would suffer many things from the Jewish authorities, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and be raised on the third day.
Then Peter took him aside and began to reproach him, “Never, Lord! No, this must never happen to you.” But Jesus turned to him and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You would have me stumble. You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will find it. What will one gain by winning the whole world if he destroys himself? There is nothing you can give to recover your own self.
“Know that the Son of Man will come in the Glory of his Father with the holy angels, and he will reward each one according to his deeds.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A parish priest was shocked to know that a seminarian assigned for summer apostolate in his parish lambasted his practice of assigning special seats to parish benefactors during fiestas. The seminarian did this during his talk to the Legion of Mary. The seminarian said: “If we are all equal in the eyes of God should rich people deserve special seats just because they have contributed something more to Church?”
Parish priests give special seats to benefactors not to set aside the rich from the poor. As representative of the people in the parish, he has the duty to bring the gratitude of the parishioners to those who have done good things to the parish. Thus, by assigning benefactors special seats, it is the whole parish showing gratitude to them as patrons.
The seminarian may not have intended to malign the parish priest. But with all his good intentions he became the parish priest’s stumbling block during the busy preparations for the fiesta. His talk stirred a hornet’s nest.
Peter too protested about the ways of Jesus, especially his way of dealing with sufferings. I will not impute ill motive on Peter protesting Jesus’ revelation about the impending Passion and Death. He may have been sincere in rushing to his Master’s defense when he said, “Never, Lord! No, this must never happen to you.” But in his zeal, he became an adversary to the Divine Plan. Rightly he was called “Satan” (adversary) by the very Master who declared him earlier as the rock on which the Church was to be built. When Jesus told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan”, it was a warning to him that his being rock was not on account of his strength but of his discipleship.
In the same manner, our membership of the Church should primarily be a matter of discipleship and not for any other motive. In the context of communion with Jesus, there are things that are not wrong in themselves but inappropriate because they spoil communion with Jesus. This was the “sin” of that seminarian – sin against communion.- Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father grant us perseverance in our efforts to rally behind Jesus in his sufferings by carrying our crosses to the finish line. Grant this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Raymond Nonnatus, Priest. He was born in 1204 at Portelia, Spain after his mother died. He was called Nonnatus (not born) because he was delivered by cesarean section. He is the patron of midwives. He joined the Mercedarians, a congregation that was organized to work for the release of Christian captives from the Moors. He suffered imprisonment and other tortures inflicted on him by the Moors. At the age of 35, when St. Raymond returned to Barcelona, Pope Gregory IX made him a cardinal. However, he died in Cardona on his way to Rome. He was only 36 years old when he died. Pope Alexander VII canonized him in 1657.