Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalms 63:2-6, 8-9); Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27
When we look more deeply at these readings there is an underlying note. God created everything. When he made us he placed a longing within us for a union with himself. It is an emptiness; we are looking for fulfillment. We look for humans and things to fulfill us yet that doesn’t give us what we need.
Worldly viruses opposing God have gotten into our mind and there is also "spyware" there. We need a good anti-virus program to purge them and get ourselves functioning correctly. Jeremiah was one of the great OT prophets. Viruses were causing the Jewish people to not function the way God created them to function. Jeremiah was impelled to speak God’s corrective words to them that they did not want to hear.
Over the years as we read our scriptures and especially the psalms, we "fall in love" with some passages. Psalm 63, today, is one of my favorites. It is so uplifting, as if we were telling God, “O God, it is you I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts, like dry land without water. I want to gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory.” As Jesus touches us we want more of him; we thirst for him.
In Romans 12:2 today, St. Paul focuses us in the right direction. We must offer ourselves as a "living sacrifice" to God, acting justly. When our mind gets viruses and bad spyware we need a cleaning with an updated anti-virus program. Paul encourages us to "be transformed by a renewal of your mind." We need God’s cleaning of our minds, his many gifts of wisdom, knowledge and discernment, to see how we are to be his lights and love in this world to make it a better place to live in. Amen.
In the gospel of Matthew today, Jesus is teaching his followers what will happen to him; what he came to do. He died on the cross in our place, condemned for our sins so we could be reinstated into God’s family with his original program. Peter was reasoning according to what he thought was "politically correct." Have we heard that term before? Jesus told Peter he was on the wrong path. We all need God’s security system to get renewed according to God’s plan.
I would like to end with this little prayer from St. Francis of Assisi.
Most high and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Instill in us a correct faith, a certain hope, perfect love and profound humility, O Lord, with wisdom and understanding to truly carry out Your holy will. We ask in Jesus’ Name.
Have a good and safe Labor Day weekend and a renewed week.