Reflection: Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Zc.12:10-11, 13:1; Ps.62; 2nd Reading – Gal.3:26-29; Gospel – Lk.9:18-24]

“… IN CHRIST”

It is quite easy to find a large number of followers for someone who makes big and bold promises … but experience has shown that more often than not, all that which seems amazing often turns out to be nothing more than empty promises.

But to follow someone who “is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day” is quite difficult to comprehend and almost seems like sheer madness.  All this talk about “being raised up on the third day” from the death, which is as enigmatic as it can be, does not really help either!

Today’s first part of the gospel tells us about Jesus asking his disciples who the crowds say he is. He also asks his disciples who they themselves say he is. Although the disciples answered his question, it was Peter’s answer “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” which was more revealing. It stated clearly and unambiguously who Christ is. However, Jesus seems to be more interested in telling them about the suffering of the Son of Man. This was not a surprise for his disciples. In fact they seem to have not reacted because they have already heard about Him in the Old Testament. They already knew the Old Testament is made up of these and similar announcements and about how badly the prophets were treated. However, the disciples failed to recognise that Jesus was actually speaking about himself. By failing to apply to Jesus what Jesus was saying about the Son of Man, they failed to understand what was actually going on. From Jesus’ perspective, He knew that his disciples were finding his words difficult to grasp, understand or digest. They could not put together the thought of Jesus being the Christ as well as being the suffering Son of Man. Jesus knew that those who were not with him would not understand neither (unless they are filled with the Holy Spirit) and when Peter recognises Him as the “Christ, the Son of the Living of God”, we are told that Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.

In the second part Jesus continues with his teaching in a way that engages directly with all those present. It is no longer about what others say about him. It is no longer about what they think or say who Jesus is. Instead it becomes a matter of simply following Him. This must have surprised his listeners because they were already following him! Jesus takes this opportunity to talk about himself through his followers – those who follow him must do as he was doing. If anyone wants to be a follower of Jesus, first this same person has to renounce himself and take up his cross every day, and then he would be ready to follow him. In following Jesus, one will be doing what the eyes of the world would consider to be “difficult, folly and almost on the verge of the impossible…” and so understand what it means “for anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it”. It is all in trying to believe and “clothe ourselves in Christ”.

“Lord God, give us the wisdom that we need to be able to truly say, feel and believe that: ‘For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God. Thank You Lord!’ ”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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