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9/3/17 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Damian

   At one point in our lives, we all have someone whom we look up to idolize – a movie star,

a performer, an athlete, among others. We are happy when our idol is happy and sad when he/she is not doing well. Fans mourn the death of their idols, even when so far away.


     In our Gospel reading today Peter strongly objects to the upcoming suffering of Jesus at the hand of Jewish leaders. We cannot blame Peter for his strong reaction, indeed aversion, to even just the thought of such suffering of the Lord he loved and respected. Peter did not really understand or appreciate the Father's plan for Jesus as the Messiah. Many awaited a conquering Messiah to restore a powerful Israel. Peter could not understand a "suffering Messiah," who would conquer not with power and violence but with suffering and death. In God's plan, Jesus triumphs over sin and death through his own suffering and death.


     Jesus strongly rebuked Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You would have me stumble. You are thinking not as God does, but as people do." God moves where he wills and not as people expect.


     Jesus then detailed what discipleship was all about, "If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me."

To be a disciple is to be like the Master, to be devoted and passionately committed to the person of the Master and to his example. To follow Christ is to pattern our lives after him.

     We are all invited and challenged to make Jesus' pattern of suffering, death and resurrection, our own. The invitation rejects a life of ease and comfort. The invitation is to follow a "suffering Messiah."


     To be a disciple of Christ has its costs and its rewards, "Whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will find it. What will one gain by winning the whole world if he destroys himself? There is nothing you can give to recover your own self." Do I believe this?


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