September 3, 2017

Reading 1 JER 20:7-9

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
You were too strong for me, and You triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.

Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage is my message;
the Word of the LORD has brought me
derision and reproach all the day.

I say to myself, I will not mention Him,
I will speak in His Name no more.
But then It becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding It in, I cannot endure It.

The Fire burning in his heart and soul is the Holy Spirit.  There is such a strong desire to talk about God that Jeremiah cannot hold back as much as he tries.  I love that God prevails.  There may be times when we want to talk about God, but we might think of past times when we were made fun of or ridiculed.  We may have been mocked or lost friends because of our faith, and that leaves a sting.  People might not have dated us or hired us because of our religious beliefs, and that leaves us confused.  Why is something so good taken as a bad thing.  After so many times, we may grow angry with God.  Why is this happening while serving Him? This can cause us to not want to mention Him anymore and to hide more parts of our faith.  Well, that won’t work for long! God wants to be known and loved, and we are His messengers.  There is no way we can stop talking about the Creator and Savior of the universe.  Love conquers all.

 

Reading 2 ROM 12:1-2

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. 
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

   Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice.  How beautiful.  That is exactly what Jesus did.  He is the Sacrificial Lamb.  He wants our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.  Our souls and bodies are connected and intertwined so what we do with one affects the other.  There are so many ways to offer God our bodies.  We can use our time to help those in need and use our hands to serve food to the hungry or ears to listen to the depressed or lonely.  We can take care of the physically impaired or orphans.  This is using the parts of our body to imitate the Lord.
   Another way is chastity.  Saving ourselves sexually for marriage and then practicing chastity within marriage is an excellent form of spiritual worship.  We are giving God our bodies by practicing self control, patience, and trust.  It is especially hard in this day and age when sex has become so casual and carefree.  But like St. Paul says, we must not conform to this age.  We must be refreshed and renewed by Jesus, allowing us to know what God whats us to do with our lives.

Gospel MT 16:21-27

Jesus began to show His disciples
that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised. 
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to You.” 
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an obstacle to Me. 
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow Me. 
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life? 
Or what can one give in exchange for his life? 
For the Son of Man will come with His angels in His Father’s glory,
and then He will repay all according to his conduct.”

  We must think how God does.  We cannot stay in our selfish, limited point of view as human beings.  We need to stay concentrated on the Face of God and set our minds on the things above.  We have to die to ourselves and rise with Christ.  We cannot run to the world for comfort and happiness because it will only leave us thirsty.  If we prioritize and value money, shoes, jewels, popularity, social climbing, etc, we will get wrapped up and lose ourselves.  Is it worth all the pleasure to lose your soul?
  We must recognize the fact that there are going to be crosses in life.  Jesus says this.  As a follower of Him and His cross, we have our own to carry.  There will be difficulties, struggles, diseases, test failed, unemployment, rejection, and loss but Jesus is with us.  He carries His cross and now helps hold ours.  We are never alone and have to remember when we want to complain, everyone else has crosses, too.  God will never give one that is too heavy.  We may have to bend to hold it, but we will not break.

 

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