OMELIE / Omelie EN

03/09/2017 – 22nd sunday of O.T  - Year A

03/09/2017 – 22nd sunday of O.T  - Year A

Reading 1 Jeremiah 20,7-9 Psalm 62/63 Reading 2 Romans 12,1-2 Gospel Matthew 16,21-27

Last Sunday we could see the Disciples paying attention to the unexpected words Jesus was addressing to Peter, in promising him the keys of the new kingdom that God was going to start on Earth, the kingdom that had the Church as a visible  and even invincible core: there was no sign of an army, and still not even the underworld would be able to overthrow it. Today we can hear Jesus continuing the same conversation announcing His passion and His death. In order to reach the glory that God will bestow upon Him, and to establish the announced kingdom, he will have to go through humiliation and pain, human failure and defeat. All this seems impossible to us. We are not surprised if Peter has taken the floor in order to express to the Master every word we would have said and wanted to say to Him, too: “Heaven preserve you, Lord, this must not happen to you”! When do we willingly accept the announcement of a failure or the news of a persecution? Peter strongly disagrees, talking to Jesus face to face, taking Him aside not to let anyone else hear his rebuke. We can hear that Jesus, this time, is neither patient nor tender with the disciple. He gives him an order and a title that we would have never expected: “Get behind me, Satan!”. The disciple was putting himself before the Master, exchanging roles. Go back to your place, Jesus loudly tells him. Acting like this, not only you are like Satan, you are putting yourself in his place. He is the one that is always exchanging roles, taking God’s place to guide men’s life in his own way. It is Satan that promises happiness on this Earth, that raises expectations of glory and greatness, money and pleasures, but only in order to ruin the soul of whoever pays attention to him. And then Jesus explains why He spoke in such a hard way: Peter acted as a spokesperson for the common way of thinking, spread by selfish and conceited men, making clear that his thinking is everything but spiritual, is not based on God’s Word, it does not match the prophets’ revelations, it does not bring love.

Jesus’ disciples have not received the Holy Spirit yet, we can clearly understand that. They need to prepare themselves to receive It, and then He forewarns them. If they try to save themselves without help, with their own strengths, from the difficulties and the troubles, they will incur in sufferings even greater. If they try to save themselves by themselves, they are declaring that they do not want a saviour, the one coming from God, that they do not want Jesus. To get to salvation by ourselves is an illusion, it is the easy way that it is promoted by the world, so to speak by all the religions of the world. Buddhism and Hinduism teach how to save ourselves with mental and physical exercises, other contemporary religions teach how to save ourselves with rituals and other magical practices, Islam deludes us into thinking that we can save ourselves with practical actions, but above all by adhering to a formula and to a man that dictated it.

However, we will not be saved from sin, that is the origin and the source of all evil. They do not even know what sin is, the disobedience oppressing human beings and making them oppressors. Jesus came to save us exactly from sin. This is the reason why He asks us to follow Him and to follow Him on an unique path, different from those of the world. “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me”: these are words that contradict all the desires of whom is searching for his own wellbeing using creams and gestures accompanied by strange words coming from Indian atheism. To renounce ourselves? This is going against the tide indeed. Do you want joy? Distrust yourself, that is to say your pleasures and your ambitions. Do you want to be a gift from God for others? Do not follow your desires, but those of Jesus, even if this costs pain, cross and death. True love, both that you think you can receive from others and that you think you can give, will bring you to die to yourselves, to your desires, to your instincts.

Jesus’ teaching will be accepted by us when we will be in love with Him. Then “there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart” that cannot be contained. Jeremiah had an experience like that, when he says: “You have seduced me, Yahweh, and I have let myself be seduced”. We let ourselves to be seduced by our God’s love, by Jesus’ love, to the point to joyfully carry the cross. This is our “worship”, as Saint Paul refers to it, he who urges us “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God”.

Every day we remember this offering of ours, when we cross ourselves. This is the declaration that we want to renounce ourselves in order to love Jesus. Let you cross yourself saying, instead of the usual words, this: “let you renounce yourself and take up your cross and follow me”. This will help you. Let us repeat in crossing our own body: “let you renounce yourself and take up your cross and follow me”. We will avoid hearing Jesus saying to us what he had to say to Peter. We will truly become his co-operators in building His spiritual building, the Church.