Homily for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: God’s will and the Christian imperative
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Sunday August 30 2020
(Mt. 16:21-27) Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus reveals to His disciples God’s plan. He will enter Jerusalem to suffer the same fate as the prophets who were ahead of Him. This time, it is for the ultimate purpose of saving mankind from the slavery of sin. It was difficult for them to accept. Peter expressed it by asserting he would not allow it. To his surprise, Jesus rebuked Him and took the opportunity to teach them further God’s will and the Christian imperative.
The Christian Faith had been criticized by its seemingly masochistic tendencies. Christians were known for enduring suffering and embracing death for the faith. While it was not always the case, it was not discounted, much more, rejected. Jesus told His disciples that the world will hate them because of Him. Evil holds the world captive. To be a Christian means to fight evil. It entails being in the world but not of the world. In fact, Christians were expected to Christify the evil world. It is and will not be easy.
Prophet Jeremiah realized that. He was emotionally stressed and defeated in the first reading. He trusted the Lord yet he was always threatened and ridiculed. No one was listening to him. But the call to proclaim the Word of God was like a fire burning in his bones. It means that no matter what he does, he could not stop being a prophet.
It was similar with St. Paul who started as an executioner of Christians. In fact, he was on his way to execute some Christians in Damascus when the risen Lord appeared to him. The experience of the risen Christ resulted to His conversion. In the second reading today, he seized the opportunity to make the best offering to God – himself! He meant to make himself as a living and holy sacrifice pleasing to God. His will will only be God’s will. It is Christ who now lives in him. Thus, as St. Ignatius prayed, he wanted God to take his will, memory, and mind, and the whole of him. He knew that in losing himself, he will find it.
Now we see and understand the Christian mind and heart. We live not for ourselves. Human experience shows that it is possible . Parents suffer loneliness by going abroad to work in order to support their families. Soldiers commit themselves to defending their country to the point of heroism. Lovers… we know what they have done and were willing to do for their beloved. Here, we are dealing with our relationship with God, our salvation, and eternal life. The world is not enough for all of these. Jesus’ incarnation and passion, death, and resurrection should be more than enough to offer ourselves as pleasing and holy to God.