Matthew 16:21-27

You’re Not in the Driver’s Seat

Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”

But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”

Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

“Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendour of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.”

Prayer

Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving and praise in all my daily experiences of life.

 

Teach me to be joyful always, to pray continually and to give thanks in all my circumstances. I accept them as Your will for my life. I long to bring pleasure to Your heart daily. Break the power of the enemy in my life. Defeat Him through my sacrifice of praise. Change my outlook and attitude into one of joyful contentment with my present circumstances. I thank You for…….

Jesus, I want to be like You who obeyed the Father without complaint. You embraced the chains of humanity when You walked this earth. Convict me whenever I complain or compare myself with others. Give me Your attitude of humility and thankful acceptance. I want to be like the Apostle Paul who learned contentment in every circumstance. I choose to continually offer You a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that give praise to Your name. I long to bring a smile to Your face. Teach me the power of a thankful heart. I know that Your truth dwells in a thankful heart.

I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD the Most High. In Jesus’ name. 

 

Amen.

Reflection

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.

Today, Jesus shows us his plan which is for him to suffer for us who are sinners, that we might be reconciled to God the Father. You and I have a chance to walk the same road as Jesus by carrying our own cross and following him who invites us to be with him always.   Our purpose in life is to follow Jesus and to live like him, because he loves each of us. I unreservedly, believe in Jesus, in his constant presence and in the eternal life he offers to each of us. I am aware of my own weaknesses like Peter, who said to Jesus, “Impossible, Master! That can never be.” I know that Jesus is with me constantly, encouraging me, teaching me by his word, through different situations and through the people I meet every single day. In everyday life, in every different circumstance, God is constantly teaching me many lessons and guiding me in all I do. I know I make mistakes like Peter but I can learn through these mistakes and by following the teaching of Jesus.

Human thoughts, which are not the thoughts of God, are the first result of original sin.  Original sin is when a person has a great desire for something that is bad, something that is wrong instead of wanting to do good things. A desire to do what they know they should not be doing. These bad things will not bring true happiness. This is the result of original sin. In the Gospel today, when Peter says to Jesus “I do not wish you to carry out your Father's plans, I would rather have you accomplish my human plans”, Jesus rebuked him and said he was an obstacle in his path, because the way he thought, was not God’s way, but man’s way!   We all go astray from time to time, but we can all say to God, ‘I am sorry, forgive me, I was wrong. My dreams and desires are bad.’ When God has a plan for us we must not prefer to do our own thing. Even Jesus himself as a fully human man, had a choice to make when he was praying to God his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed that if it were possible this hour might pass him by. “Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I would have it. Jesus knew the suffering he would have to endure. He knew he was going to be crucified, a long painful, slow death, but he was willing to fulfil God’s plan for mankind. He suffered much, out of great love for each one of us.

Today, you and I can learn more about ourselves and our Friend Jesus by getting a better understanding of how very much he cares for and loves each one of us. We can do this through reading the Gospels and through talking to Jesus, just as we would talk to any of our friends. Jesus is more than a Friend. He is our Lord, our Master, our Savior, our Teacher, our Shepherd, our Guide and he is the only beloved Son of God who is our Heavenly Father.   What I often do, is say to him, ‘Jesus, I trust in you,’ because only he is able fully to understand me as a unique person. Nobody else knows us or understands us as well as Jesus.  He alone knows our every thought and the deepest secrets of our hearts. You too can say ‘Jesus I trust in you,’ because you are a beloved child of our God. He will never let you down or tell your secrets to others. He is there for you every second of every day. He is with you when you are having good days or having very bad days when everything goes wrong. Do you believe that Jesus loves you so much that he died for you? He did indeed, as he loves you more than you will ever know!  

Lord, let me lose my life, so that I will continually gain it for you. Let me hear your words so that I can hear not only what is difficult and demanding but also to discover the promise of victory that you have made through your Resurrection from the dead, that I too may have eternal life.

Fr Roman Szczypa SDB

Salesian Priest

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