It is on 3rd September 2023. We celebrate the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. We reflect on Jeremiah 20:7-9; Romans 12:1-2; and the Gospel from Matthew 16:21-27.
Are we persuaded or prevented from the mission of the Lord? The will of God is the vision of vocation. Sanctification is the sacrifice at the altar of life. “Lord, you enticed me, and I was enticed.” Life has no substitution. Salvation is inconceivable in the absence of mercy and love. “What will it profit us if we gain the whole world and lose our very life? The cost of discipleship is in the carrying of the cross not seeking a career.
In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah shares his personal struggles in delivering the Word of God to a stubborn-hearted people and wishes to end working for God. But the desire, the fire within him is not able to be contained within himself and so he remained faithful. The inner struggle and pain are the costs a true disciple of God has to pay on a daily basis.
“Within me, there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (Jer.20:9)
The authentic and deep love for God cannot be hidden within and it has to be shared until it sets ablaze the other hearts on fire. This process of setting ablaze is unrewarding, painful, and spiritually draining. Even if one shares those sentiments, it does not make sense to others or the others have no idea when one has chosen the life to be a disciple of God. A serious and faithful disciple will not give in to human emotions but will still search for the will of God.
The responsorial Psalm intercedes, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.” (Ps.63:2b).
In the second reading, St. Paul urges all those who wish to follow the Lord not to go behind the lures of the world. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2).
It is all about going against the current of this easy-go-lucky world. Those who swim against the currents of emotions, feelings and personal sentiments will be able to see the side of God in all the struggles they go through as a follower of the Lord.
The Gospel teaches us that we must carry our pains, struggles, disappointments, weariness, ridicule and mockery as the means of self-denial and as our own personal crosses to be faithful followers of the Lord.
The personal pain and suffering we go through for the Lord and for the work of the Lord are the means of our personal salvation and divine tranquillity as a reward for persevering over the odds. The Christian life is meaningful only when it has faced and experienced a certain amount of suffering and pain personally and deeply.
“For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” (Mt.16:26). May we be faithful disciples of Christ even amidst suffering and pain. May you have a good day.