Twenty-Second Ordinary

The Introduction 

Peter must have felt duped by God when Jesus rebuked him. What did he say that was so bad? When Jesus foretold of his future suffering and death, Peter took what he considered an appropriate defensive stand. Not you, Lord! Never!

Only moments earlier, he had called Jesus the Messiah, Peter’s understanding of that term meant conquering hero, not suffering servant of God’s will. Peter liked to imagine victory achieved without a scratch. Victory gained at the cost of ultimate sacrifice was no victory in his mind. If Peter was duped, it was his own preconceptions about God and religion that betrayed him. Gaining the world at the price of the soul was no bargain. But losing everything for the sake of God’s victory is the one purchase we all want to consider.

For what are you willing to suffer (i.e., love, money, justice, peace, the truth)?

How much are you willing to suffer for these things?

Avoid being deceived by worldly values. Spend a week refusing to read billboards and magazine advertisements, watching commercials, even noting brand labels. Turn your back on the consumer message and exercise your freedom.

‘Self-help is no help at all Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self’.

The Scripture (Matthew 16: 24-26 The Cross and Self-Denial)

Then Jesus went to town on his disciples. ‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?’

The Reflection

Valerie Price isn’t a name you will recognise. According to worldly standards she is a nobody. Last year, though, 23-year-old Valerie Price went to Somalia to work as a nurse. She wanted to help people who had nothing. She wanted to offer them a better way of life. Valerie was concerned about her safety, but nothing would stop her from doing her work. She was in charge of a feeding centre in Mogadishu. Through her life-saving efforts, children who had been near starvation were fed. Valerie even established a school so the children could learn and have some hope for the future Valerie was fortunate to see some of the fruits of her labours. Earlier this year Valerie made the national news. She was killed by armed bandits outside the very school she had started. Valerie was willing to risk her life to help other people. Jesus tells us that in losing her life she actually found it.

The Commissioning

Go from here as faithful servants of Jesus Christ.
We will be ready for the challenges and will face them.
We will be ready for rejection but will stay enthusiastic.
We will be ready for questions and will answer directly.
We will be ready to be seen as irrelevant but will stay focussed.
We will be ready to work with and learn from other faith groups.
We will be ready for sacrifice and will remember the cruel cross on the hill.
You belong to Christ. Go from here courageously and know Christ’s peace.

GPBS © (2023)

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