1. Jer 20:7-9
3.Mt 16:21-27


We are invited today to reflect the words of Jesus, that we heard in the readings about renouncing self, taking up the cross, and losing our lives fro the sake of Christ. 

From the first reading we get a clue that in Jeremiah's extraordinary accusation that he was seduced by God, letting his prophetic vocation overpower him. Jeremiah in his life involved in thankless task. He had fallen in Love with God. To love is to risk on the other side. Cheap price for God's Kingdom is wanting salvation at a cut price/ cheap price. Cheap price grace is unwilling to involve ourselves in sacrifice/ readness to involve and to be available for the sake of others.

Sacrifice will only be called sacrifice only if  it will be oriented in achieving high and valuable goal. The discipleship involved in christian life is to accept the circumstances in which God places us the same circumstances contribute to our personal destiny. Furthermore, from the first reading we understand that those people called by God to accomplish his mission like Jeremiah, for them the suffering and persecution is inevitable.

From the 2nd reading we learn that what can God have in our  liturgical celebration if they are not accompanied by love?? Prophets many time had repeated that often, and Jesus often proclaimed it." what I want is mercy and not sacrifice. It's under this background that we are called to sacrifice our lives for others. What Paul tells her is very important. If our liturgies are not celebrations of life and love, then our religion is completely void, and has no content.

From the Gospel reading we can pose this question to ourselves that why did Jesus use the word " Satan" when he addressed Peter?In the first part of the Gospel (vv21-23), Jesus corrects these wrong ideas. He does not want any body to follow him for wrong reasons, so he tells them that he is going to Jerusalem not to take power but to give his Life( He is going to Jerusalem to bring peace). When Jesus went out into the wilderness to prepare for his public ministry Satan came to tempt him to follow a different path than the one chosen by the father in heaven. Likewise, Jesus recognizes  in Peter's response another temptation  to seek  a different and less costly path for accomplishing his mission than the way of the cross. The word Satan means adversary, the one who stand in opposition. Jesus reminds Peter that his role is not to be adversary but a disciple, one who gets behind his master to follow with trust and obedience.

Victory and glory are gained through the cross. Jesus knew that the only way he could ramson us from slavery  to sin  was his blood which was shed for our freedom. Through his sacrificial death on the cross Jesus defeated Satan who held us in bondage to sin and condemnation. Jesus defeated Satan's sin through power of death and resurrection. The paradox of God's economy is that when we try to loose our life we gain it, and when we try to gain in we loose it, only God can free us from sinful and ignorant ways.

What at times we think is not according to God's logic, but rather to human Logic. If any one wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross, this means that any one wishes to follow Christ must forget self ( Egoistic tendencies). Jesus demands from all those who follow him that they give up personal ambition  and selfishness. Christians cannot act on their own interests/ seek what pleases them. They must be aware of the needs of their brothers and sisters. 

Let us have something to share in the mystery of suffering in relation to the cross, there are five stages of spirtual healing , these were developed by  Dennis Linn, and Mathew Linn, moreover, the same stages were imployed by a Elizabeth Kubler- Ross, in the stages of human dying. These stages in relation to the cross are:


At first we may deny that we have a cross in life. Perhaps we do not want to face the pain of the cross we pretend that every thing is fine. But one of the mysteries of is that a grace awaits us if we carry our cross just as the resurrection awaited Jesus after he had died, if we deny our cross we are living out on the grace God has planned to give us.

Aftter we move beyond denying our cross and admit that we have a cross we may experience anger and we pose questions such as why? why me? and not somebody else? why did God allow this to happen to me, it is  a natural reaction . We see Peter showing the same reaction in the Gospel today when Jesus indicated that he would suffer and die in Jerusalem, Peter rebuked Jesus and said  this must not happen to you ( Mt 16:22). At this stage of copying with our cross we may be angry with others/ with God. It's easy to blaim God when we cannot understand why we are in pain. Instead of casting blaims on God we are invited to get to the real root of problems or cross. To some this type of experience, suffering needs kind of healing therapy/ counselling. Jesus in his life we don't see him blaming his father for his cross. In fact we have evidence for people paved the way for Jesus' cross. No body has come up with clear and correct answers about human suffering what we have is a bit of it and peaces of answers.


After admitting the pain and accepting that there is a painful situation some people make bargains with God such as God if you get me out of this, I will be a priest, I will be attending daily morning masses, I will change my formal ways of life, I will be a faithful christian and more good promises to God. With these promises we also accept that cross is the part of our life.


After feeling anger towards God/ others previously it is possible later to experience anger with one self because of one's cross. Anger turned in towards ourselves is sometimes called dipression.

Perhaps we could describe receiving the grace after the cross as a healing, after the cross comes new life. After good friday it comes easter vigil, and easter sunday( Ressurection).  After the cross it comes thanksgiving " thanks be to God, I have come through it " The particular grace we receive is often proportion to our cross. Example if we know the intensit of the pain of being hurt by others we end up being more sensitive to others not wishing to impose and inflict pain on them. Ireland  has experienced the pain of Famine and is now noted for its generosity in helping  famine stricken countries. Thus to receive the grace that accompanies our cross it is worthy and important not to become stuck in any of these stages namely

1. Denial
2. Anger
5. To acceptance

we move through these stages of healing by sharing our pain with the Lord when we pray. We don't need perfection when we pray. In moving  through these stages we recognize  trustworthy friend. A trouble shared is half a trouble" if we are caring Christian Community we should be helping each other to carry our crosses if we can't care to each other we are not caring christian community. The cross keeps us close to God.

Mother Teresa of Calcuta said the following in relation to suffering 
" Sufferings are the kisses of Jesus in our lives"

Who ever wishes to come after me must deny himself, to take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but who ever loses his life for my sake will find it ( Mt 16:24-25)

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Chapisha Maoni