Call to worship
Today’s Scriptures invite us to surrender — to feel the fire of God’s Word in our bodies, our bones, our hearts and our spirits, to let go of selfishness, to abandon all ego in order to fully identify ourselves with Jesus, to carry our crosses with determination, hope and faith, and to live a life that is filled with the grace and blessings of discipleship.
- To the point: No wonder Peter rebukes Jesus! Jesus “began to show his disciples” what faithful discipleship demands: denying self, losing self, letting self die. Jesus teaches his disciples to let go of self so that a new self can be given. What we relinquish is ourselves as we are now; what we are given is a new self – born from identifying completely with Jesus. It takes a lifetime of discipleship to turn from wanting to rebuke Jesus’ way of living through the cross to embracing it. It takes a lifetime of discipleship to let Jesus transform our life into his Life.
- Connecting the Gospel (Matthew 16:21-27) to the first reading: Jeremiah grows tired of the demands of authentic prophecy; he vows to quit speaking. But God’s word burns within him, drawing him back to speaking in God’s name. Jesus’ faithful disciples cannot avoid the demands of the cross; Jesus draws them to embrace the cross for the sake of receiving his Life.
- Connecting the Gospel to experience: The drive to preserve our life is one of our strongest instincts. In this gospel Jesus is asking us to let go of our life so he can give us something more: a share in his divine life.
“Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Swift and reckless, we flee the cross
whenever it comes close.
Lord, out of love you gave up everything on behalf of us.
Be with us now. Show us a way to carry our cross.
Show us how to lose ourselves,
and find ourselves in you, in love.
“But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones.”
Let us go beyond ourselves:
become defenders of the poor and helpless,
build a house for the homeless;
care for this world-home,
and for refugees,
Let us work for social justice.
Please, set a fire burning in our hearts
and let no one put it out.
“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
Lord, join our hearts with your heart.
Yoke our tired motives to your perfect one.
Heal our world of every kind of wound
and please, use us in your heavenly plan.
Copyright © 2023, Anne M. Osdieck
Music for reflection