Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

August 31, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Romans 12:1-2
Matthew 16:21-27

A reflection on today's Scripture:

In last week's readings, Peter was given the keys to the kingdom, and in this week's readings, he nearly gets them taken away from him! Jesus is so upset with him that he exclaims, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Tough language! Peter got himself in trouble for strongly protesting Jesus' prediction of His Passion. In effect, Jesus is telling his disciples, I never promised you a rose garden!

If we think Jesus is unfair, His Father had done this before. Jeremiah, in the first reading, had been made a reluctant prophet. Jeremiah even claims that God duped him into the job. He's so angry and discouraged at the rough treatment he has to take from his own Jewish people that he decides to quit. However, he can't get rid of the fire in his heart, so he continues to prophesy that Babylon was chosen as God's instrument for chastising Israel. Why? Because Israel was just plain unfaithful and they deserved punishment.
Not that the truth makes a prophet's job any easier!

God has called all of us to discipleship, and we must be prepared for opposition. It goes against popular thinking and popular belief to be either a prophet or an apostle. How about just a plain, ordinary Christian? We don't fare any better. We get criticized at home, at the office, and even sometimes in Church from more comfortable Church members.

How many times in our lives have we felt that Jesus' teaching was just too much? We don't like turning the other cheek, or forgiving seventy times seven. We don't like being criticized or even ridiculed for standing up for Church teaching on abortion, or contraception, or embryonic stem cell research—or the death penalty. Yet, if we're loyal and faithful. . . .

St. Paul gives us some very good advice in today's second reading. (You might even place a marker in your bible, even memorize it!) "Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" and "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." (Romans 12:1-2)

Following Christ isn't for babies. So maybe God or the priest didn't tell us everything when we started out. But that was a long time ago, and we've grown up since then. So let's get on with it, and remember, there IS a final act called Eternal Joy!

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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