22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A. 3rd September, 2017.
At that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God but of men.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Such a clapback from Christ on St. Peter’s rebuke today. Last Sunday, we read how Peter, inspired by God to answer the question of Christ’s true identity he got the keys to heaven; in today’s gospel reading, tempted by Satan, he almost tried to play God.
In the second reading of today, St. Paul appeals to us to be living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God, not giving in to the world’s ideology of what the life of a Christian should be: sweet and never bitter, up and never down. But we have to renew our mind off such mentality. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to pave the way for us into heaven. Yes, He took away sin and suffering but He also shows us that the earthly life has its ups and downs, has its trials and tribulations and also joys and fulfilment. He shows us that like Him, we are bound to face persecution, He makes us see that true happiness doesn’t lie in gaining the whole world but in life eternal in God’s bosom. He lets us in on true discipleship, that we can only gain heavenly glory if we live a life of sacrifice and self-giving, losing something to gain something more.
So we have to start telling that voice which lies to us that we ought not to suffer only to tell us to abandon God because he allowed trials befall us that it has to pipe down and take a back seat in our lives. We should also be vigilant of the fact the Devil is also lurking around, awaiting an opportunity to lead us astray, by what we hear or watch, even by our closest friends and family at times. Moreover, we have to start asking ourselves everyday, “What is it I’m losing and what am I gaining?” “How willing am I to sacrifice something so as to gain what is lasting and eternal?”
Our Saviour rebukes the shortcut through life and beckons on us to carry our cross and follow Him on the right path to leads to sweet victory. May we, with the power of the Holy Spirit obtain the grace never to shy away from our responsibilities and tribulations, knowing that our Lord Jesus Christ is with us to see us through it all, till the end