READINGS for 2008-08-31
ARE YOU SATAN?
He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” – Matthew 16:23
When I read today’s Gospel, I tried to imagine what Simon Peter felt after Jesus’ response. Imagine, after expressing concern about his friend and mentor’s grim outlook, he ended up being called Satan. Ouch, that must have hurt!
But you know, while we are mostly aware when we are being used as God’s instrument, we are barely conscious of being used by the Father of Lies as the ways of the devil are often more tricky. For example: Have you covered up for a friend as your way of “helping” him out?
Have you passed on a rumor and told yourself you did it out of concern? Have you turned a blind eye towards your friend’s vices to keep your friendship intact?
These are just some ways that can lead you or someone else to sin in the guise of friendship and concern. We have to be vigilant and arm ourselves by being in constant communion with God through prayer. By discerning the will of God, we will eventually learn what is truly good, pleasing and perfect. Cecil Lim
Am I a “Satan” to some of my friends?
Reveal my sins, Lord, that I may be able to lead my friends to You and not away from You.
Jeremiah seems to be ruing the fact that God’s powers of persuasion have been successful in wooing him into taking on the life of a prophet. Such a life is never easy and Jeremiah knows this only too well. The suffering he has endured as a prophet has been quite horrific. Yet, as Peter will tell us a few centuries later, it is far better to have suffered for doing the right thing than for doing the wrong thing. This has to count for something, at least in Jeremiah’s life.
7 You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me. 8 Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the LORD has brought me derision and reproach all the day. 9 I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
P S A L M
Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R: (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
1  O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. (R) 2  Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory, 3  for your kindness is a greater good than life; my lips shall glorify you. (R) 4  Thus will I bless you while I live; lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name. 5  As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. (R) 7  You are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. 8  My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me. (R)
This is one of my many favorite texts of Scripture and, I believe, one of the most important texts the modern age has to take on if it is going to endure the ravages of materialism and secularism. The sin of the age is largely the sin of refusing to acknowledge the truth. This is a sin of the mind before it is a sin of the heart, and thus requires that we seek the renewal of our minds according to the truth of the Gospel and the mind of God, and not according to the so-called wisdom of the world. It is time for Christian leaders to throw away the wisdom of the world and return to the wisdom of God as we have it in the Scriptures and the teaching tradition of the Church.
1 I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. 2 Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
G O S P E L
Peter the Impetuous would be a good name for him. We cannot fault Peter’s intentions here but his mind is clearly working under the guidance of earthly wisdom and principles rather than the mind and heart of God. We all have to learn that what may be the wisdom of God for our lives may make absolutely no sense when assessed from the standpoint of the world. I say, “So what to the world!” Thus, let us get on with implementing the wisdom and will of God for our lives.
21 Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. 22 Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” 23 He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.”
think:We should seek the renewal of our minds according to the truth of the Gospel and the mind of God, and not according to the so-called wisdom of the world.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 70-72
My weekly time with God
THANK YOU LIST
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week
thE MystEry OF thE CrOss
Why does God allow suffering? Who can give an answer? The Book of Job speaks much about suffering; Job asks painful questions but confronted by God in the end, he does not ask anymore.
Jeremiah cries out because he cannot take suffering anymore. His whole life was a long drawn-out martyrdom.
Jesus announces calmly that He would have to suffer and be killed – something Peter cannot accept. Having been hailed foundation of the Church by Jesus, he thinks he has the right to tell his Master that this should and could not happen to him. Jesus tells him and all who would become his followers that without taking up one’s cross, one cannot be his disciple. No, being a follower of Christ does not free us from temptations, trials and sufferings; the cross is part of it. If we would say we do not meet the cross, we may not be true followers of Christ.
A year ago, Pope Benedict spoke to priests about the “great Catholic synthesis” of loving and combining in one’s life the human and divine; he then concluded, “Let us live in this Catholicity joyously.” There are moments when we feel overwhelmed by the Cross but the example of Jesus encourages us to look beyond the dark moment. He did not embrace the Cross with joy – His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane shows this. But He knew that the cross was not the end. If Peter had only listened well he would have heard that Jesus spoke about His suffering and being killed, but then He added that “on the third day [he would] be raised.” Only Jesus could give us this hope by carrying the Cross, going through the horrible sufferings, and then rising to eternal joy and glory. Fr. Rudy Horst
How do I face the many crosses I encounter in life? Do I question God or do I look like Jesus beyond the dark moment to the joy that comes afterwards?
Lord, the crosses I encounter are often heavy, but not as heavy as Yours. And yet, I complain. At times I feel like giving up and question the apparent meaninglessness of suffering. In those moments, Lord, be at my side, be my Simon of Cyrene, and remind me of the joy that awaits me.
Blessed Richard Bere, English martyr, pray for us.
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