Theme of the Sunday: Seduced by Christ. In the first reading Jeremiah complains that God has seduced him. He was convinced that following God would lead him to success and an easy life; instead he ended up as what seemed a total failure. In the gospel we see that Peter thinks like Jeremiah and does not accept a suffering, defeated Messiah. Jesus spells out conditions for those who follow him, so that nobody will be able to say they were seduced with flattery or false promises. The second reading is very close to this theme. It invites us not to go along with the way everybody else thinks. Other people may not find the life of a Christian acceptable.
Entrance Antiphon cf. Ps 85:3.5
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I cry to you all the day long. O Lord, you are good and forgiving, full of mercy to all who call to you.
God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured. Through our Lord…
“The word of the Lord has become a reproach for me.”
A reading from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah20:7-9)
O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughing stock all the day; every one mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 63:2.3-4.5-6.8—9 (R. cf.2ab)
R/. For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord, my God.
O God, you are my God; at dawn I seek you;
For you my soul is thirsting.
For you my flesh is pining,
Like a dry, weary land without water. R.
I have come before you in the sanctuary,
to behold your strength and your glory.
Your loving mercy is better than life;
my lips will speak your praise. R.
I will bless you all my life;
In your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet;
With joyful lips, my mouth shall praise you. R.
For you have been my strength;
In the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings fast to you;
Your right hand upholds me. R.
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans12:1-2)
I appeal to you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Ephesians 1:17-18
Alleluia. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we might know what is the hope to which he has called us. Alleluia.
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 16:21-27)
At that time: Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and who ever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.”
The Gospel of the Lord
God’s promises are attractive; we long for his blessings; we are amazed at the wonders he works in our midst. The utmost desire of every person is to be protected and helped by the power of God. We always wish to be accompanied by the strong support of God for our life on earth and we reject the idea that God could be weak. Peter rejected the idea of a weak, suffering, powerless messiah. Jesus rebuked him and brought him to rethink his concept of power. God cannot be defined according to worldy categories and standards. A mind-set no matter how sincere, if it is worldly, will certainly lead to the rejection of occasions for cross bearing.