Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A
August 31, 2014
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First Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm: 62:2-6, 8-9
Second Reading: Romans 12:1-2Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:21-27
- Last Sunday we heard about Peter’s profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus’ designation of Peter as the rock upon which he will build his Church (verse 18).
- Jesus immediately follows this with the first of three predictions he will make of his Passion, death and Resurrection (verse 21. See also Matthew 17:22 and 20:17-19)
- Peter, taking his newly defined pre-eminence to heart, proceeds to forcefully contest with Jesus’ in an attempt to deter him from his stated path. In response, Jesus likens Peter’s attempts to Satan’s efforts to tempt him away from his mission (see Matthew 4:1-11)!
- Jesus makes clear that, not only is it necessary for him to embrace his Cross to fulfill what the Father sent him to do, but it is the call of the disciple to take up his own cross every day and follow Jesus (Mt 10:38-39; Luke 14:27; John 12:24-25; Romans 8:17). The cross in that time and place was a well-known instrument of torture and death, and no further details or explanation was needed!
- Jesus concludes by connecting one’s faithfulness in bearing their own cross, to their eternal reward (verses 25-27. See also Matthew 25:31-46; 1 John 2:28; Romans 2:6-8; Revelation 22:12).
- In the 1st Reading, what are some of the sacrifices, great and small, that Jeremiah must make in being God’s prophet? What are some of the sacrifices we make (or may be called to make) in serving the Lord?
- In the 2nd Reading, what does St. Paul mean when he refers to a “spiritual sacrifice”? How does he advise we offer these to God?
- In light of last week’s Gospel, why does Jesus change the direction of his teaching now?
- What kind of Messiah was Peter expecting? Why was Jesus’ response to Peter so strong?
- Putting yourself in the disciple’s time and place, what would your reaction be to Jesus’ statement of verse 21 (see 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25)? What is comparable today?
- What does it mean to “deny” one’s self? To take up your cross? To follow Jesus?
- What earthly possession or lifestyle is worth exchanging for eternal life with God (verse 26)?
- What have I given up to follow Jesus—today and every day?
- What picture comes to mind when you think of how Jesus “will repay everyone according to his conduct” (verse 27. See also Matthew 25:31-46)?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 540, 607, 618, 736, 1021
You shall as his true disciple, follow him, and with your good will, without grudge, do as he did and take your cross of pain upon your back, and die for the truth with him, and thereby reign with him, crowned in eternal glory. –St. Thomas More, martyr, in a letter to his daughter
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