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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Speaking God-like Words The Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020

                                                          Speaking God-like Words

The Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020

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August 30, 2020

Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 63; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27



Peter is like the rest of us in that we do not want to embrace suffering or mortality. Jesus revealed to his friend the completion of his mission, one that will end in his death, and Peter turns away from the subject as quickly as he can. We all do. We want to offer an encouraging word, give the other person hope, put on a positive spin, look to the best advances in science to help the person live and beat their condition, but our words can take us away from the pain and grief that someone might feel. In this case, Jesus tells his closest friends that he is going to die, knowing that it will be a humiliating, painful death, and that there is a terrible finality to his mission. The disciples are not able to hear Jesus or give him what he needs – comfort and consolation – and they miss an opportunity to learn how Jesus feels in his suffering. Because the disciples could not fully hear, Jesus was unable to share fully the extent of his anguish. To avoid being like Peter, we have to be wise and slow with the words we speak.


Jeremiah also feels unheard – by God and by the people to whom he has been sent. The mission from God has not gone as planned because it is more difficult than expected. People do not respect Jeremiah and they certainly do not listen to him. He feels that God is not even listening to his woes. To feel misunderstood is terribly lonely. Jeremiah realizes though, that as much as he would rather walk away from his mission, he cannot. Near-term suffering is his fate, but his words cannot betray God. Something fundamental in the relationship keeps him bound to God. Jeremiah learns to be wise and slow with the words he speaks.


Much of our suffering is caused by the words people speak to us or the way we ineffectively deal we communications in our closest relationships. They may not understand what we are trying to say and they may take us for granted by finishing our sentences for us. They may divert the conversation in another direction, as Peter did, rather than dealing with the substance of what you are saying. It increases our feelings of loneliness and isolation, which further enhances our suffering. Suffering is often brought about by the wrong words we speak, whether they are unkind, untruthful, or violent, whether they lack openness or understanding, whether they are devoid of compassion or attempts to reconcile with one another. Absent the right words we can speak, we will suffer even more. This is what Jesus was telling Peter when he said, “You are speaking as human beings do.” Peter became an obstacle to him, and Jesus needs him to speak as God does. We need to speak as God does, because, as we look around, our families and our nation is filled with the type of human speech that causes division and suffering.


Peter would not have been rebuked by Jesus if he tried to listen to him better. Staying nearby in a stance of openness and silence would have given Peter a better chance to understand what Jesus was saying. At times like these, our needs and concern take second place to the one in greater need. That is losing one’s life for another. That is forfeiting one’s life for the sake of another. After listening to Jesus, Peter could have then spoken God-like words that conveyed insight and understanding. When we speak rightly, we are healed, and we heal the one in need. The one who hears these words of compassion know that they are really loved, really heard, really understood, and this becomes a moment of great happiness.


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading:

Monday: (Jeremiah 20) 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.


Tuesday: (1 Corinthians 2) I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.


Wednesday: (1 Corinthians 2) The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.


Thursday: (1 Corinthians 3) I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh.


Friday (1 Corinthians 3) If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written: God catches the wise in their own ruses, and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.


Saturday (1 Corinthians 4) It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not even pass judgment on myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord.



Monday: (Matthew 16) 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. 


Tuesday: (Luke 4) Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.


Wednesday (Luke 4) In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”


Thursday (Luke 4) At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases
brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”


Friday (Luke 5) When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon.


Saturday (Luke 5) Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.


Saints of the Week


September 3: Gregory the Great (540-604) was the chief magistrate in Rome and resigned to become a monk. He was the papal ambassador to Constantinople, abbot, and pope. His charity and fair justice won the hearts of many. He protected Jews and synthesized Christian wisdom. He described the duties of bishops and promoted beautiful liturgies that often incorporated chants the bear his name.


This Week in Jesuit History


·      Aug. 30, 1556: On the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the Iroquois mortally wounded Fr. Leonard Garreau, a young missionary.

·      Aug. 31, 1581: In St. John's Chapel within the Tower of London, a religious discussion took place between St. Edmund Campion, suffering from recent torture, and some Protestant ministers.

·      Sep 1, 1907. The Buffalo Mission was dissolved, and its members were sent to the New York and Missouri Provinces and the California Mission.

·      Sep 2, 1792. In Paris, ten ex-Jesuits were massacred for refusing to take the Constitutional oath. Also in Paris seven other fathers were put to death by the Republicans, among them Frs. Peter and Robert Guerin du Rocher.

·      Sep 3, 1566. Queen Elizabeth visited Oxford and heard the 26-year-old Edmund Campion speak. He was to meet her again as a prisoner, brought to hear her offer of honors or death.

·      Sep 4, 1760. At Para, Brazil, 150 men of the Society were shipped as prisoners, reaching Lisbon on December 2. They were at once exiled to Italy and landed at Civita Vecchia on January 17, 1761.

·      Sep 5, 1758. The French Parliament issued a decree condemning Fr. Busembaum's Medulla Theologiae Moralis.

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