Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 20.7-9; Romans 12.1-2; Matthew 18.21-27
“Those who want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16.24
Many people in Jesus’ time expected a warrior messiah, who would restore Israel to independence and power. They wanted to be great again. A messiah who suffers and dies contradicts this popular idea of the messiah’s might and mission. A powerless messiah seems no messiah at all. In Sunday’s gospel Peter, on whose faith the Christian community builds, wrestles with this contradiction.
Jesus’ predictions of his suffering invite us to reflect on the meaning of his death and resurrection for ourselves. How will we give ourselves to Jesus’ mission in our world? Jesus lived his prophetic mission all his days and faced the consequences in death at Roman hands. He healed the sick, freed the possessed, and brought God’s love near. His resurrection calls us to faith that new life is always possible–in relationships, in work for peace, in sustaining Earth. Daily we give ourselves in loving one another.