Fr Vincent's reflections on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Pray, not for what you want, but to recognize that what God gives you is good, and ask God to help you love Him and revere, that is, adore and obey Him so that you grow in His goodness, even if it means giving up whatever you want out of this world.
watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
read the text:
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us pray:
God of might, giver of every good gift,
put into our hearts the love of your name,
so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. The Gospel today is Matthew 16:21-27.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel follows immediately from last weekend’s Gospel. Simon, by the inspiration of God, has just declared Jesus “the Christ, the son of the Living God!” And Jesus names him “Peter,” the rock foundation of the Church. In fact, Matthew makes a point of dropping “Simon” before Peter’s name to emphasize this change in status. [Check out the wording in the prior passage from last weekend.] Yet it is Peter who seems to lose his divine inspiration when it is put to the test because Jesus talks about the persecutions to come. How hard it is to keep the grace and strength which God offers us!
This week the people of Louisiana were challenged by two storms – Marco and Laura. Of course, we are grateful that Marco fizzled. And though our immediate area was spared, we continue to pray for the people of southwest Louisiana. It is understandable to become anxious when our lives seem threatened. Even covid continues to be an ever-present threat and a cause of worry for many. We want to face all these issues with faith. Yet many find themselves like Peter – hoping God will make everything happen just the way we want.
Jesus’ answer today is: “Don’t expect things to go the way you want.” In fact, he almost says, expect things to be the opposite of what you want. That’s not very comforting, is it? Jesus basically says, if you get what you want here, don’t expect Heaven! But, if you truly want Heaven, then be prepared to give up the easy life now. How can Jesus expect to keep disciples with such a message? In fact, many find this message of Jesus too hard, so they (we) change it to fit our lives and expectations. Then we wonder why God lets so much bad happen.
The Opening Prayer for today’s Mass gives us an answer. We pray, not for what we want, but to recognize that what God gives us is good, and we ask God to help us love Him and revere, that is, adore and obey Him so that we grow in His goodness, even if it means giving up whatever we want out of this world. By the abiding grace of God, it can be done.
A few more words about the major change happening in our East St. James Cluster. Most of you heard last weekend that Fr. Alec’s time as our associate pastor ends on August 31st, and that I will be here as the only priest for our three parishes. This will not be easy for you or for me. Changes will be taking place. The weekend and weekday Mass schedules will remain the same as they are now for the month of September. However, with October 1st, we will shift to a one-priest schedule. My letter explaining the changes with my current plan to reorganize the schedule is posted on the Cluster website and Face Book page. It is also included in bulletins at our churches this weekend. Please be patient as we work this priest reduction out together. Not even I am happy with the situation, but we must make the best of it. Thank you!
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.