Get Behind Me, Satan!

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.”

Matthew 16:21-25

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

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Take up your Cross and Off We Go… 

Thursday After Ash Wednesday Year A; 2nd March 2017 

 At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And He said to all, “If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:22-23

Self-denial and the Cross: the perfect ingredients of true Christian Followership. Today Christ calls us to choose Him daily, to choose Him who is Life and Infinite Goodness over the world and its evil.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Luke 9:24).

Day 2 of our 40 days journey and He Reminds us that life is going to be a soothing of suffering at times, but joy awaits us at the end of the tunnel only if we place our trust in Him; only if we follow Him. The world and its pleasures cannot give us the joy and treasures that comes from being a true disciple of Christ.

So how do we follow Jesus? Moses relates it to us in the reading of today: By obeying the Commandments of God the Father, by loving the Lord Our God and walking in the way Christ our Messiah showed us while on earth, by keeping the statutes and ordinances the Holy Spirit communicates to us. Only then can we make progress in our spiritual life. Only then can we be worthy of the name “Christians”. So deny yourself and take up your cross. Off we go!

Obedience through Suffering. 

Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time Year A; 16th January 2017

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 5:7-10

St Josemaría Escrivá once said, “Don’t recoil: your life is going to be a soothing of suffering. This is why you are a disciple of the Master!” We live in a world where suffering is affiliated with evil. A man who suffers is made a poor outcast not to be associated with the elite. One who suffers spiritually is probably possessed/tormented by wicked ones, we tell ourselves. Nobody wants to be a “Job” and suffer, even if it’s for a just cause-even if it’s for Christ sake. But Christ submits himself as a sacrificial lamb, He lets us know today that there can be no salvation without tribulations. Our life goals are to excel in all ramifications of life and if we were to suffer, we had better “suffer from success.” But what would be our predicament when suffering comes our way? 

Jesus beckons on us to be obedient in all situations we find ourselves, especially in suffering. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Only then can we attain perfection. Like Jesus, let us offer our prayers and supplications to our Heavenly Father with confidence that He will hear us