The Church today proclaims the Gospel of suffering, which is the essential element of her Gospel ethos. The message for the day is crystal clear, we need to renew our minds and transform our lives not as per the standards of this world but by the will of God (Second Reading).
Today, as we encounter Jeremiah and Jesus at the Crossroads, we are confronted with the most paradoxical aspect of Christian suffering and sacrifice.
The first reading expresses Jeremiah’s inner conflict, a conflict between two wills, the will of God and his own personal will. The effort to resist the Word of God, burning within him, was too much than to speak and bear its consequences. Jeremiah was a suffering prophet torn apart by the terror of his vocation and his love of the Lord who gave him the vocation. The life of the prophet summons us to be at peace within ourselves by understanding the mystery of prayer and the mystery of suffering. First, then, when I suffer prayerfully, I recognize that God is behind the suffering and I humble my head in faith. Second, when I suffer prayerfully, I trust that God has reasons for permitting what I endure and that in His own time and way, the experience now suffered will eventually be a source of grace
The Psalmist invites us to contemplate the Face of God, a God of Mercy, graciousness, slow to anger, steadfast love and faithfulness (Ex 34:6). The Psalmist exhorts us to lift our hands in praise and confidence during the times of our brokenness, helplessness and hopelessness
In the Gospel, Jesus unveils the real meaning of discipleship. Discipleship means following Jesus into the glory of the kingdom through the great way of suffering. Peter, the newly appointed leader of the church built on a Rock and all the other apostles must lead by accepting the cross and fervently hold onto it before the disciples and members of the church. The core of discipleship, which is the very heart of Jesus’ teaching, is not about authority but about self-denial, not about saving but about losing, not about greatness but about servanthood, not about being (number) no.1 but being no one. Such is the heart of Jesus Christ, which may sound absurd and ironical to the ears of today but can only be understood through the path of suffering and sacrifice. We need to sanctify our sufferings that our Good Lord may accept our sufferings as a pure and holy sacrifice (Second Reading). We need to make this journey in our life and always may our prayer be, “Here I am Lord, called to do your will”
The flame of Divine Love never rises higher than when fed with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite charity of the Savior used to finish His sacrifice (St Ignatius of Loyola).
There is no such thing as a worthless life or a meaningless human situation. Without God, I cannot; without me, God will not.
When prayers go up, blessings come down. May the flame that is burning within us rise so high that our Good Lord may receive it as fragrant incense. Finally, in the game of chess, a pawn if used wisely can become the Queen.
At the Crossroads of your life, will you take the road less travelled by?