Twenty Second Sunday of the year 2008

Reflection for 22nd Sunday of the Year (A)…

graphic of Jesus walking on water

Readings for
22nd Sunday of Year (A)
31 August 2008

Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm 62
Romans 12:1-2
Matthew 16:21-27

A better life… a better world….

South Africa has just come through a difficult period of xenophobia with the ensuing  violence which caused 62 deaths among them 21 South Africans, countless injuries, shacks burnt, thousands displaced and terrorized and seeking security.  Another tragic aspect of life here.  And we wander Why?

Various groups and agencies have opinions – political leaders both national and local, commercial enterprises, the relief agencies like the UN and Amnesty, Churches, the Media, experts on community life, and so on.  Each has its own angle and self-interest.  One wanders where all these were before things got out of hand? 

In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks about suffering – ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me’… and adds ‘What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life?’

This raises questions for us.  How dependent we have become in our life-style – junk food, multi-channeled television, car, travel, good social life, relaxation of nights out with friends, weekends away and holidays in the sun… Yes, the good times. But at what cost? As we face a life battling cholesterol, over-weight, lack of fitness, boredom, few reliable sober friends and mixed up family life.

To get life back into shape takes suffering and effort… taking control of the diet, using the gym, changing the life régime, awareness of the environment, concern for  people, restoring family and family values….  There is more to life. We need to change our life style to that of wholeness and well-being.  We need healthy body, sound mind, good heart and love. Jesus’ words ring true… Take up the challenge of being a follower of Jesus… a challenge for all of us rich, poor or not sure.

The message of Jesus is for everyone.  The poor already have their troubles.  But the rich must seek to carry their cross too in a meaningful way in the world:

feed the hungry,
welcome the stranger,
shelter the homeless,
relieve sickness and
share with those less well off.  

 

That oppression, injustice, migration, unemployment, sickness, hunger, homelessness and xenophobia erupt into violence may be that some people are not carrying their cross to make this a better world.  Jesus overcame the world and sin by his death on the cross.  With our cross we can make this a better life and a better world. 

 

 

– Fr Michael Flattery sma
Pretoria, South Africa

 


 

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Last modified: Thursday, August 28th, 2008