August 30: 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm: 63; 2. Romans 12:1-2; Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27.
Working for God’s mission of proclaiming his Word lies at the heart of these readings.
Jeremiah is well-remembered because of the burden he constantly senses whenever he preaches the Word he has been divinely commissioned to communicate. Lamenting his vocation in the face of outright rejection, he knows deep within that he must persevere. And so, whenever he is tempted to abandon his mission, he feels an even greater urge to be true to his calling. In these few verses then, the all-powerful Word of God demands to be revealed far and wide.
Also to the fore in Paul’s words to the Romans this Sunday is commitment to his mission. His
advice to them takes the form of two directives. The first of these refers to the Christian response we must all make if we are to be true to our identity in Christ. Our charge is to be spiritually resolved to offer ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. And, secondly, it is our duty to be radically transformed in mind. This dual effort is thus deemed to be essential for our personal well-being and for the good of the Church’s mission.
In keeping with what Jeremiah and Paul have expressed today, the Gospel exchange between Jesus and Peter leads to the realisation that all the Lord’s followers are called to walk the path of suffering, death and resurrection. Matthew’s telling of the Passion prediction therefore highlights the enduring significance of true Christian discipleship. Despite seeming to impose a great burden on us, this Gospel moment lays bare the faith we publicly profess week after week.
Taking the essence of these readings to heart means that we must accept the challenge to be messengers of the Word of God in each and every opportunity that presents itself to us.