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Sunday, September 1, 2002

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22nd Sunday Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 20:7-9
Romans 12:1-2
Psalm 63
Matthew 16:21-27

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suffering too much?

"Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." —Matthew 16:25

Although Jeremiah had expected to suffer for being God's prophet, the degree of suffering was much greater than he had expected. Thus, Jeremiah decided to quit serving the Lord (Jer 20:9).

Jesus told His disciples He would "suffer greatly" and "be put to death" (Mt 16:21). Peter knew that disciples follow their masters and that he didn't want to suffer. Consequently, Peter tried to talk Jesus out of suffering. Then "Jesus turned on Peter and said, 'Get out of My sight, you satan! You are trying to make Me trip and fall. You are not judging by God's standards but by man's' " (Mt 16:23).

We, like Jeremiah and Peter, want no suffering, or at least less suffering, in the Christian life. However Jesus insists: "If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in My footsteps" (Mt 16:24). Although Jesus will remove some of our sufferings by forgiving, healing, and freeing us, He will also call us to:

  • take His yoke on us and learn from Him (Mt 11:29),
  • bear our "share of the hardship which the gospel entails" (2 Tm 1:8),
  • "know how to share in His sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death" (Phil 3:10), and
  • rejoice "in the measure that" we "share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13).

A cross-less, painless Christianity is not true Christianity. "Lift high the cross!"

Prayer:  Father, may "I find my joy in the suffering I endure" for the sake of Christ's body, the Church (Col 1:24).

Promise:  "I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship." —Rm 12:1

Praise:  Praise Jesus, crucified, risen, glorified, and soon to come!           

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002