The Price of Following Jesus
If we lose or misplace something, don’t we often rush around in a frantic hurry to find it? We quickly say a prayer to St. Anthony, asking him to intercede for us and before too long, what was lost is found again! We are thankful, maybe even to the point of embracing it. Can we say the same thing about our life?
The Gospel for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mt.16: 21-27) has Jesus showing his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem where he will suffer and be killed. Peter, who had just been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, took Jesus aside “and began to rebuke him.” Rebuke is a pretty strong word. It means to scold, punish or disapprove. Jesus recognizes this as a satanic obstacle and then proceeds to state the conditions of discipleship: “whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
A Prophet's Crisis
The prophet Jeremiah tried to deny the calling of the Lord until he began to suffer from an interior crisis. The First Reading (Jer 20:7-9) says that the word of the Lord became “like fire burning” in his heart. Jeremiah was afraid to speak out of fear from being laughed at. One day he could no longer keep the name of the Lord to himself. That is the cross that Jeremiah had to carry.
Living the Message
What about our cross? What about the word that burns inside of us? Do we have strong and clear that want to come out, but for one reason or another, they don’t make it to our lips? St. Augustine famously wrote, “Our hearts remain restless until the rest in God.” God has a way of drawing us close to him