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Theology for the common man

22 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, September 03, 2017

It's very difficult for us to think about divine matters. In our everyday lives we tend to react as human beings and wish for our desires to be fulfilled, in accordance with our human logic. Jesus, who announced his inevitable death on the cross – from the hands of his kinsmen responsible for the affairs of God – to his disciples, reprehends Peter, who dares to rebuke Christ and almost forbid Him to realize his Divine Mission. Jesus then accuses Peter “you are thinking not as God does, but as human being do”. We know this from our own experiences. When we are sick or a tragedy befalls us, it is difficult for us to accept the will of God as we have human concerns; yet God wants us – through these situations – to experience salvation combined with the Divine Mission of the Son of God. Christ's next words speak volumes in this context: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”. This does not, of course, exclude our “human resistance”, which should subside once we consider our “losses and gains” of being with Christ, as was the case with Peter, or even with the prophet Isaiah, which our first reading concentrated on. Isaiah prophesied only misery will befall on the Kingdom of Israel, as ordered by Yahweh, and wanted to back out of his mission as prophet, but something inside did not allow him to do so. As he himself noticed: “(… God’s words) becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones”, and he could not extinguish this fire despite attempts. Salvation and the safety of man is – and always was – through God, and the cost of this salvation was the life and cross of Jesus Christ. This is the moral of today's readings. This is also confirmed by St. Peter, who urges us to offer our bodies, and all temptations tied with them, “as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – your spiritual worship”. We must not base our actions on the follies of this earth, but turn our minds towards reading the Will of God.