Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reflections on the Readings for the Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Source: USCCB - (NAB) - September 13, 2009

The readings this week seem to speak strongly about what it means when we go through hardships. In modern times, we tend to support a gospel of prosperity. When things are good, it means God is with us. When things are hard, we think God has “abandoned” us.

However the readings this week tell us otherwise. In the first reading we read of Isaiah speaking of the hardships he is undergoing. He does not speak of God as having left him in hard times. Rather he accepts the sufferings he is going through because he knows God is with him, and he will not be put to shame ultimately because he is doing God’s will and God will uphold him.

The second reading speaks of the consequences of knowing this. It is not enough to say “I believe in God.” What are we doing to show we believe in God. If we believe in God and believe He is who He says He is, then we need to put that faith in the center of our life, and to produce works that shows Christ is the center of our lives. Not just say “Sure I believe in God” but only behave this way for an hour on Sundays yet live the rest of the week as if our faith had no right to intrude.

The Gospel reading shows us of how easy it is to fall into the “If God is with me all will go well” form of thinking. The Apostles see truthfully that Jesus is the Christ. However, they have the mindset of “If God is with us, all will go well with us.” So when Jesus speaks of the suffering Messiah, Peter objects. It is not how he thinks it should be. So Jesus reprimands him, saying “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

In the world today, the move is away from God and towards the self. We think that God is supposed to provide for our physical needs and forget that the ultimate state of our soul is what matters. The world may hate us for speaking out and acting according to our beliefs. However, when a man of the world does us wrong because we live according to our faith we should say as Isaiah did: “Let that man confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?”

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