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.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
A Franciscan story tells how St. Francis was about to send some of his brothers to preach in a hostile, pagan land. Everyone expected them to suffer martyrdom, and so those who weren’t going crowded around the missionaries, secretly hoping to boast later how they had met such saintly martyrs.
One timid friar in line was horrified when one of the missionaries told him, “So Brother Jordan, you, too, will come with us?” The young friar recoiled in shock, but then thought, “What if it’s the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that I go?” He took his dilemma to Francis himself, who advised him to follow his heart. Brother Jordan did accompany the missionaries, and survived to chronicle their exploits.
We may smile at the tale of the timid friar afraid to face martyrdom. But what would your reaction be? In today’s liturgy, the prophet Jeremiah, along with Saints Paul and Peter, are featured in Scriptural passages that evoke their own struggle with the possibility of martyrdom. What were their fears, their dilemmas, their response, in the face of God’s call?
The challenge of the Gospel for us rarely comes so directly. But it remains real. Day-to-day, there’s a lot we cling to. We want to save face, keep from rocking the boat, avoid the embarrassment of taking an unpopular stand. But at what cost?
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In this week’s first reading (Jer 20:7-9), Jeremiah was told by God to tell of the coming defeat of Judah and the coming exile in Babylon. What happened to Jeremiah in this chapter 20?
Did Jeremiah face real suffering because of the message he was told to deliver in Jerusalem?
• In the second reading (Rom 12:1-2), Paul urges his readers (and us) to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. Can you do that?
Paul urges us to follow what God wants of us, and to accept the suffering that may come our way. Have you ever suffered because of your faith?
• In the Gospel reading (Mt 16:21-27), Peter gets scolded by Jesus for going against him and being an obstacle to Jesus. What did Peter do?
Jesus told his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, suffering greatly and be killed. Was Peter thinking like of a different kind of Messiah than Jesus?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• The second reading speaks of using our bodies as a living sacrifice. In that spirit, try to find ways to do just that. Perhaps it’s donating blood, becoming an organ donor, or taking part in a charity walk/run to raise funds to help others.
• The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life has launched a new campaign to combat loneliness among elderly due to COVID. Take part in the initiative and post your outreach efforts on social media, using #sendyourhug.