The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – A – (3rd September 2023)
Lectionary Readings: Jer. 20:7-9; Ps 62 (63):2-6.8-9; Rom. 12:1-2; Matt. 16:21-27
Theme: Which way do we choose to go?

The readings for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time invite us to reflect on our vocation to holiness. This path towards holiness passes through the cross and gives us access to the true and full life that God offers us through the path of love and the gift of life.

     In the first reading, a prophet from Israel (Jeremiah) describes his “cross” experience. Jeremiah put his whole life at the service of God and his projects. On this “path”, he had to face the powerful and therefore, he knew suffering, loneliness, and persecution.

     Jeremiah is the paradigm of the prophets who suffered because of their mission. Of a sensitive and cordial nature, and a man of peace, Jeremiah was not made for confrontation, for the violence of words or gestures; but God called him to “uproot and destroy, to cut off and tear down.” God’s call always invites us to go beyond ourselves.

     The story of Jeremiah is the story of all those God calls to be prophets. The “prophetic path” is a path where one permanently deals with misunderstanding, loneliness, and risk. God never promised any prophet an easy path of glory and human triumphs. Are we aware of this and are we willing to follow this path?

     In the second reading Paul exhorts the community of Rome, and today us, not to conform to this world and its charms, because everything is fleeting and therefore, we always need discernment. He invites the faithful to offer themselves. Christians are those who give themselves completely into God’s hands and who, in every moment of their existence, live for God. This offering will be “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” The “spiritual worship” that Paul speaks of is, therefore, the surrendering of the totality of one’s life to God.

     In the Gospel of Matthew, the instruction on the Kingdom of God continues, but it also recalls that this path passes through the cross. We can divide the Gospel into two parts: in the first (v. 21-23), Jesus announces his passion to his disciples; in the second (v. 24-28) Jesus gives instruction on the meaning and requirements of being his disciple. What are those requirements? Anyone who wants to be a disciple of Jesus must “renounce himself”, “take up the cross” and follow Jesus on his path of love, self-giving and the gift of life.

     With this Sunday’s readings, we see the divine logic and that of human beings: the latter desire power, dominion, triumph, and success which assure us that life only has meaning if we are on the winning side; if we have plenty of money; and if we are recognized and incensed by the crowds. God’s logic bets on giving one’s life to God and to one’s brothers and sisters, assuring us that life only makes sense if we assume the values of the Kingdom and live in love, sharing, service, solidarity, humility, and simplicity.

Which way do we choose to go?

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. When you reflect on your life now, which way have you chosen? 2. Where do you need to repent and renew your fidelity to your calling as a follower of Jesus Christ?BibliographyMcKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965)

This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar, NDS
Israel, ISPS Ratisbonne Contributor.


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