The Following of Christ (XXII Sunday OT — A)
- Reading I: Jeremiah 20:7-9
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 63
- Reading II: Romans 12:1-2
- Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:21-27
The first reading from Jeremiah 20:7-9 is a plaint uttered during the prophet’s stay in lock-up. Pashur the priest had Jeremiah imprisoned because of the things he was saying. Jeremiah 20:7-10.14-18 should be understood together. These verses enclose as in a frame vv. 11-13. These central verses show us that despite tha pain and anguish that Jeremiah felt, he still continued to put his trust in the Lord. Verses 11-13 end with an invitation to sing to the Lord. Somehow, Jeremiah receives consolation from the Lord, a consolation that becomes a prophecy of doom for Pashur and those who associate themselves with him in persecuting the prophet.
- The Incident with Pashur (vv. 1-2)
- Prophecy against Pashur (3-6)
- Jeremiah’s Plaint
- You duped me O Lord (7-9)
- Against the people around him (10)
- Confidence in the Lord (11-13)
- Let my days be cursed (14-18)
The Following of Christ
Peter may have recognized in Jesus "the Messiah,the Son of the Living God", but he still had not understood what it really meant. And so when he tries to dissuade Jesus from thinking about a destiny that ends in suffering, Jesus calls him "Satan". In the voice of Peter, Jesus recognized the tempter — the one who hinders him from the path He was meant to follow.
The misunderstanding of Peter also becomes an occassion for Jesus to underscore one aspect of the Christian life: the Christian’s union with Jesus in His Paschal Mystery. He who wishes to be a follower of Jesus must be with Him even on the cross, so that he can join Him in the resurrection, as Paul would say. In Romans 12:1ff, Paul’s exhortation that the Christians should offer their bodies as living sacrifice to God underscores this aspect of the following of Christ. He/she is to be holy — consecrated to God. This means that he/she will have to die to sin so as to live for God.
The responsorial psalm expresses the soul’s desire for God. It is an echo of Psalm 42 where like the deer, the faithful thirsts for the living God. It also echoes what Augustine writes about the restless heart: "You made us for yourself, O God, and our heart is restless until it rests in You."More Reflections
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