August 31, 2014

The Gospel Today

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:21-27

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.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
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.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
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?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):

I think it’s natural for a person to be in a state of shock after hearing bad news. More so, if the news involves the life of someone who is very dear to him.

In today’s Gospel, we can surmise how Jesus is very important to the apostles. He is their head that unified them. Jesus is the God’s abiding presence who manifests His mercy and compassion to the poor, the sick and the sinners. However, when Jesus predicted that he will suffer and will die in Jerusalem, the apostles were shocked particularly Peter to point that he even talked to Jesus and convinced that it should never happen. I believe this is a natural tendency that we do not want people dear to us to leave. Similar to Peter, his reaction to Jesus was not only for selfish reason but he valued Jesus very much.

Last summer while preparing for the Paschal Triduum of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I received a call from a very close friend. He asked me to include in my prayers the success of the brain procedure of his son. I am the godfather of his son. My immediate reaction was to pray for the child, the doctors involved and for the relatives and families. I also asked the favor of friends to include him in their prayers. With the mercy and grace of God the eight year boy did survive the very delicate and risky procedure.

During the time that the young boy stayed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) I had the chance to visit his parents. They were still in a state of shock. They cannot understand why this thing has to happen to their “panganay na anak” considering the repercussion of the procedure and the expenses that would be incurred.  In prayer, they were asking God for the purpose of these trials in their life. I only listened the whole time that they were sharing. I tried my best not to give an advice but from time to time I asked questions. Until, my “kumpare” realized that the situation made their closer to each other. He further realized that the situation mends in some way his relationship with his wife.

Peter and the apostles faced more trials during their pilgrimage with God. However, when they entrusted to Jesus Christ fully their life, they felt the hand of God working on them even in the midst of trials and difficulties. I believe that the challenge of today’s Gospel is to embrace our crosses even in the midst of struggles by entrusting and believing in God.

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