Homily: Twenty-second Sunday Year A Do the will of God

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Homily: Twenty-second Sunday Year A

Reading 1: Jeremiah did not want to be a prophet for the Lord, but he submitted to the will of God. Even though God told him that the people would resist and reject his word, Jeremiah probably believed that eventually the people would respond. When they didn’t and when they responded by persecuting Jeremiah, the prophet uttered this cry to God: “You duped me. You tricked me.”

He realized at that moment the hopelessness of his ministry, the ineffectiveness of his message and indeed the suffering he was enduring. He was tempted to abandon the prophetic message and ministry. But something within him would not allow this. He called it a “fire burning in my heart”. What was this? It was his relationship with God, who had made such a major impact in his life that he could not deny nor walk away.

As a result, Jeremiah continued to prophesy, even though he was rejected and persecuted. Without this personal relationship with God, Jeremiah knew his life would not be the same.

Each of us by virtue of baptism and confirmation has been called and anointed to be a prophet of the Lord. We are called to speak the truth of God’s love and plan in word and in action. For this we may suffer. For this we may shrink back and try to run away from the call. Like Jeremiah God pursues us to carry out his message. 

Gospel: In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus asked the apostles who do you say I am? Peter responded: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He answered correctly under the inspiration of the Father, but he did not fully comprehend the full truth of the statement. This is obvious from today’s reading.

Jesus begins to explain to the disciples what it means for him to be the Christ. The Son of Man will suffer greatly at the hands of the religious leaders like Jeremiah, be killed but on the third day rise again. The Christ is to be a suffering Messiah, not a political, revolutionary messiah, which was Peter’s notion.

Just as immediately Peter had proclaimed the truth, he blurted out his real understanding which was not from the Father. Jesus rebuked him for thinking in human terms rather than in God’s. Jesus had freely chosen to do the will of that Father, even to the death on the cross. He came to set the world free from the domination of Satan. He knew he would be rejected and have to give his life for our life. To all this he freely said yes. He didn’t feel duped like Jeremiah. Even when he humanly cried to the Father: “Father, take away this cup of suffering”, he followed with “but not my will but yours be done.”

But Jesus went further than Jeremiah. He said that those who follow him as disciples must in their own way so fall in love with God that they embrace his will in all things. Whatever the cross is, however small or large, the Lord is present with us, inviting us to keep our eyes fixed on him with the faith assurance of life eternal with him.

Reading 2: Paul is concerned about the growth in holiness for the people whom he led to Jesus. Paul, too, experienced rejection and persecution for speaking the message of salvation to Jews and Gentiles. But Paul’s life had been changed by the grace and mercy of God. Paul was called to be an apostle of the Good News. Not only was he concerned to bring people to salvation in Jesus, but to urged them to grow in their new life, so that one day they may be with God forever in glory.

What is his message? They were not only to be converted but to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. How? They were to discern God’s will for them and choose to do what is good, perfect and pleasing to God. This is what Jeremiah sought to do. He chose not to let the people’s negative reaction determine how he should live but to seek to discern God’s will and do it.

Is this our attitude? Peter put it another way. “It is better for us to obey God than man.” It is not easy to discern the will of God. But even this effort and desire is the first step. For it shows that our heart is focus on the Lord and not on others.

 

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