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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

22ND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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Last Thursday and Friday the local kids went back to school at the end of the summer holidays, I’m sure that the mums and dads out there were pleased about that. As we also know the hurricane in the USA as well as the North Korean missile test have been in the news there is much to think about and much to pray for this week especially the peace of the world.

In our Gospel Reading this weekend we see Jesus starting to prepare his Apostles for the journey he must make to Jerusalem which ends up with Jesus crucified on the Cross. In foretelling his sufferings and death, which took place some months later, Christ intended to prepare his disciples and other followers for  the severe crisis of faith that would hit them after the crucifixion. He also took the occasion to remind his disciples, and all the others of what their attitude to suffering and death should be. He told them, and us too, that we must be ever ready to accept sufferings in this life, and even an untimely death if that should be demanded of us, rather than deny our Christian faith.

Peter is appalled at this prospect and tries to deflect Jesus from the path that lies ahead and yet it was peter who was crucified as well. After having declared Jesus to be the Christ, a title associated with victory and glory, Peter now denies that Jesus must suffer. Peter wants to banish suffering from the agenda; Jesus brings the subject to the forefront of the conversation. Jesus faced suffering which could only be conquered if it was accepted If the suffering was to pass, it had to be endured. He faced rejection which could be transformed only if he assented to it. He told them “For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it”. The way of the cross which Jesus followed in Jerusalem was one which passed through streets and markets, by houses and palaces, by windows and doors. While it happened people went about their business not giving the procession to Calvary a second thought. Suffering must run the course of the familiar as it does for us. As Christians we live in the assurance that our way of the cross does not go unnoticed.

We are asked like Jesus to carry our crosses through streets and markets, by houses and palaces, by windows and open doors. Jesus notices what we are going through and he is our companion along the way he is our strength and our shield; his power is mighty in our weakness. If the cross we carry is the price to be paid for love, then carrying it is love in action. For Jesus, that was enough it is also enough for us to know that our sufferings large or small were nailed to the Cross on that first Good Friday through the love that God the Father had to send us his Son to be with us for all time.

 

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