22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
O God, you are my God, for you I long. Responsorial Psalm
Do not model yourself on the behaviour of the world around you. Second Reading
Anyone who loses their life for my sake will find it. Gospel
Jeremiah 20: 7–9; Psalm 62 (63); Romans 12: 1–2; Matthew 16: 21–27
This week’s readings make it clear that discipleship isn’t easy. But they also reassure us that the cost of following Jesus is always a cost worth paying. Even when taking up our cross brings real suffering, God is there, offering us something far greater – the promise of life in all its fullness.
Jeremiah feels so overpowered by God and so worn down by the demands of prophesying (First Reading) that he tries to turn away. But God’s message is like a fire burning deep within him, impossible to deny. The psalmist also speaks of a profound inward longing that can only be satisfied by God, whose love for us is greater than life itself. St Paul, too, knows well how costly discipleship can be (Second Reading), but he urges us to a ’new mind’, modelling ourselves not on the world, but on Jesus himself.
When we offer ourselves to God we discover his desire for us, and can open ourselves to being transformed by him.
Today’s Gospel moves on from previous weeks by speaking of Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus warns the disciples that he must suffer, and Peter is rebuked when he tries to dissuade him.
Following Jesus now means letting go of our own self-centred lives, but in doing so we become open to a new and much fuller life of love and freedom, lived in the Lord.
I might pray this week to be ever more open to Jesus’s call to me to help him carry the cross, and I ask him to help me respond to that call with joy and generosity.