Twenty-second Sunday - Year A

The Gospel of this Sunday, Matthew 16: 21-27, recalls the conversation between Jesus and the disciples. Jesus told his disciple about the sufferings that He would face in Jerusalem and the reward of everlasting happiness for those who are faithful in following Him.

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. (Matthew 16: 21)

Upon hearing that his Master had to endure suffering and a horrible death, Peter hastily stop Jesus. “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” (Matthew 16: 22)

We sympathize with Peter when he tries to prevent his Master from facing the dangers in Jerusalem. Indeed, who could pretend that they didn't hear such bad warning? The Lord Jesus himself said that He would face with much suffering by the elders, the scribes and the high priest, and would be killed. Jesus was not happy with Peter and told him that his way of thinking and acting is human, not God's way.

All that Jesus did - teaching, working miracles, praying, enduring the pain of being reject- ed by His own disciples, the humiliating death on the cross, and rising from the dead, were out of His love for mankind. He wants all people to hear the good news of salvation. He wants all hu- man race to enjoy eternal happiness with him in the Father’s house.

“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 glo ry, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” (Matthew 16: 24-27)

As Jesus pointed out, we must eliminate in our own beings what belongs to this world. These are sin, unrighteous passions, and all that prevent us from getting closer to God. Obeying Jesus teachings is worth doing, because those follow Jesus and are faithful to Him are to share eternal happiness with Him.

Fr. Phi Nguyen

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