August 30, 2020 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/083020.cfm)
Who wants a life without suffering, without sacrifices and difficulties? That would be nice, right? We could dream of a life that knows only comfort, that is easy, and that we’ll always feel good.
There is actually nothing wrong in dreaming a life filled with comfort and without sacrifices and difficulties, to always feel blessed and good. This is a desire from us to feel secured. Nevertheless, the danger lies within a heart that denies sacrifice and suffering as part of our life, and as part of our Christian way of living.
I remember a story being told to me when I was in college. There was a boy who went out into their garden and found a cocoon. It was so timely that he saw how the cocoon moved. The butterfly was about to come out from its cocoon. However, the butterfly was struggling. The boy felt pity for the butterfly. And so, the boy immediately, ran back to his room, got a pair of scissors. He wanted to help the butterfly and so, with scissors in his hand, he cut the cocoon carefully in order not to wound the butterfly. He was so successful that the butterfly was in her perfect shape and out of her cocoon.
But then, something was wrong with the butterfly. She did not fly. She couldn’t fly because her wings were too weak. When the boy cut the cocoon, the butterfly lost the opportunity to make her wings strong. She was supposed to go through in that struggle, in that difficulty of coming out from her cocoon. Because of the easy way out, her wings were not made strong to enjoy the wind as she was supposed to fly.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus scolded Peter when he denied that Jesus should suffer and die. Even though, Peter confessed that Jesus is indeed the Christ sent by the Father, but then, Peter did not understand the commitment of being sent by the Father. Peter only knew of the victorious image of the Christ who will bring salvation and glory. Peter held on to his belief that in Jesus, there will be only blessings, power, and praises.
This was the mistake of Peter. He couldn’t accept that Jesus will undergo suffering, persecution and death. He couldn’t accept of a vulnerable and weak God. This caused Peter to be scolded by Jesus and even called Satan because Peter only wanted an easy one, an easy life. Peter only considered what he wanted, not what God desired.
This is also the consequence when we encounter Jesus. Before this passage of Peter being rebuked by Jesus, the Lord actually asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” This question of Jesus was a question of commitment. And Peter responded this question with conviction. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Like Peter, if we confess that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and Savior, then, this confession implies commitment and risk.
After all, when we commit ourselves to somebody we love, risks and sacrifices are implied. That is why, in the Letter of Paul to the Roman, he reminds us to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”Tweet
This Sunday, we are reminded neither to fear nor deny the reality of making a sacrifice, of experiencing pain and difficulty in our life. Life is found when we go through the process of struggling. Never cut the cocoon or else there will be no life. When we experience pain, struggles, and difficulties never lose those opportunities because those are ways where we too shall find life, meaning and purpose.
When we are called to make a sacrifice for others, never fear, because life is brought forth there. Take the example of parents and of mothers especially, giving birth is painful and excruciating, but the beauty of life is found when the baby finally comes out.
Hence, do something concrete today (this week) that would best express your faith and knowledge of Jesus. Hopefully, by having this consciousness, this will further help us in knowing Jesus all the more because it is in knowing him that we also grow in our faith, in our commitment and relationship with God and with one another. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR