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Back The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, August 30, 2020
There always seems to be a good amount of tension within the life of a parent who is raising a child. It is a tug-of-war of sorts as the inexperienced child often chooses behaviors that are in conflict with the more experienced parent. The parent child relationship has experiences of discipline as the parent attempts to teach their child behaviors that are for their own good, but the child still rebels.
Our spiritual lives are often compared to that “parent child” relationship. In this weekend’s Biblical lessons, Jeremiah experiences some inner conflict as his will and God’s will for him clash. As a prophet, Jeremiah receives a message from God that God wishes to be proclaimed. Often, these messages are not welcomed well by the people to whom they are directed. Jeremiah then experiences a conflict between God’s message he is to speak and his own need of self-preservation. “I say I will not mention him, I will no longer speak in his name. But, then it is as if fire is burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding back, I cannot!” (Jeremiah 20:9.)
Throughout the human life of Jesus, He too beheld those messages from God His heavenly Father. He always chose to act upon them no matter the cost. However, those who admired Him, followed Him, and became His students or disciples experienced the inner conflict between their own will and God’s will during their walk with the Messiah. Peter, who was just praised by Jesus earlier in chapter sixteen of Matthew’s Gospel which we heard last Sunday, is now reprimanded for speaking out of his own human affection for Jesus. Peter, like many of us, would not wish any harm to come upon Jesus. He would like this relationship and encounter with his Christ to last for eternity. Indeed, Peter would enjoy that relationship for all eternity but not in its human restraint and current state. Like an experienced parent, Peter doesn’t see the big picture of God’s will, while Jesus does. When hearing the prediction of Jesus’ passion and death Peter responds like any of us would: “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” (Matthew 16:21). On a human level this defense would be admirable. But Jesus teaches Peter that we need to understand God’s bigger plan for life in God’s Kingdom and not just our own piece of the puzzle. He takes the time to teach all his disciples: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25).
In our own give and take, ebb and flow of our spiritual lives, let us pray for the revelation of God’s will for us. Let us ask that it be revealed to us. Let us test and discern God’s will, well and with great courage, let us act upon it. In truth let us pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”