for Sunday, September 3, 2017
"His name becomes like fire burning in my heart" - this is from our first reading today, from the Prophet Jeremiah. God pursues us just as God pursued the Prophet Jeremiah. Often we do not realize this because we pay no attention to God. Today we are invited to pay attention to God and to know more profoundly how much God loves us and wants us to love Him.
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Romans. Now we are invited to "be transformed by the renewal of your mind." This can help us understand that we cannot know God's love for us unless we take time to think about God and to listen to God's words to us. So many of us do not take the time to read the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, every day. Instead we remain like little children who have no education and only want to play! God invites us to take Him seriously and to begin to read His word in the Bible and to let that word form our lives.
Today's Gospel, from Saint Matthew, tells us about the relationship of Jesus with His followers. Peter does not want Jesus to suffer. None of us wants others to suffer, for the most part. Yet a human life lived in a way only to avoid suffering is a wasted life. Instead, Jesus invites us to follow Him and to accept the suffering that come with that following.
Jesus tells us in strong words: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Clearly it is not natural for us to want the cross or to follow someone who will lead us into suffering. Nevertheless, Jesus invites us to know what life really is by following Him.
If we follow the Lord, we will suffer. We will become like the Prophet Jeremiah and complain that following God makes us suffer. We will be like Saint Paul in recognizing that we must be transformed by the renewal of our minds. In the midst of all of this, the name of God can become like fire burning in our hearts and allowing us to rejoice in this life, even in the sufferings, because we are loved by God and know that in following Him, we are returning His love.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Jeremiah 20.7-9
Second Reading: Romans 12.1-2
Gospel: Matthew 16.21-27
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: