August 30, 2020
We do not always realize the consequence of our decisions in life. But through discerning God’s will for us, we will follow His path of love and not be conformed to the spirit of the age or this world.
- Well intentioned decisions could have bad consequences, such as Peter’s when he rebuked Jesus in the gospel.
- People are searching for someone to help and guide them in making future decisions on financial situations or personal relationships.
- We only need to look to Jesus who knows the future and wants to guide us if we are open to discerning His will.
- In discerning God’s will, we must have humility, trust and obedience and not conform ourselves to the spirit of the day.
- Paul preaches that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. We can do this at Mass, during the offering.
How do we make decisions about a future we do not know? Many people are trying to find someone who can tell them what is going to happen. The only one who really knows the future is the Lord Himself. We have a huge opportunity; we have access to the one person who knows what the future is. He wants to guide us, if we are open to discerning His will.
In today’s gospel reading, Matthew 16:21-27, Peter’s response to Jesus was lacking in humility, trust and obedience. This is an example of what can happen, if we are guided only by our human understanding, which causes us not to see God’s plan. As St. Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
What would you say if you were in Peter’s situation that you heard in the gospel today? – Jesus just announced His passion – Peter loves Jesus – and we can see ourselves a lot in Peter’s attitude – Jesus says Peter’s love is too human – he does not realize the consequences of what he is saying – what if Jesus had listened to Peter – would we have been saved? – Peter’s intention is good, but he doesn’t realize the consequences of what he is advising – Peter rebukes Jesus – we don’t always realize the consequences of our decisions – especially in the world we are living in now – a lot of chaos – how many of us last February would have imagined what would have happened in the last several months – people living in peaceful communities that have become war zones – how can we make decisions about the future – not always easy to know what to do – well intentioned decisions can have bad consequences – Jesus said, whoever wishes to save his life, will lose it – trying to gain the whole world, and loses his own soul – how do we make decisions about a future we don’t know – many people are trying to find someone who can tell them what is going to happen – if you’re investing money, what is the stock market going to do – what’s the financial situation going to be three years from now – even the weather is hard to know – the only one who really knows the future is the Lord Himself – we have a huge opportunity, we have access to the one person who knows what the future is – He wants to guide us if we are open to discerning His will – example of Peter, what was Peter doing wrong – 1) he is lacking humility, thinks he knows better than God – 2) he is not trusting, lack of faith 3) also not obeying – Peter is an example of what will happen, if we are guided by our own understanding – in our relationships, it is very important to discern God’s will – in society, sexual relationships outside of marriage is seen as just normal – seems natural – but what are long term consequences – relationships start out with emotion, intensity and end with bitterness, anger, pain and hatred – does it have to be that way – in second reading we had today, the situation of not realizing the long term consequences of the relationship we are starting – second reading is short, two verses – how to have good relationships – St. Paul says,” do not conform yourselves to this age”, just because everybody’s doing it, doesn’t mean it is the good way – powerful propaganda drives us in the spirit of this age – St Paul’s words are very clear – this pertains so much to relationships, moving in with boyfriends or girlfriends end up in terrible consequences – St. Paul continues, “but be transformed”, to learn this path of love we need transformation – interior change, conversion, by the renewal of your mind – “ you may discern what is the will of God” – not what is the spirit of today, but what is the will of God – we have to choose – the way of God is the source of all love – what is good, pleasing and perfect – that is a clear but challenging message in living a relationship – St. Paul says” I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God to offer your body “ – asking us to not make our bodies an idol – offer them as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – with all we experience with our bodies, how many are completely satisfied with our bodies – he is asking us to offer them as a holy, living, pleasing sacrifice – so spiritual worship involves our body – the offering of our body – that’s what we see in every Mass, the Jesus we have present, by the offering of His body – all of us are invited – all have lived in different ways, consecrated life, marriage, soldier, medical personnel – live our life offering our body as a living sacrifice to the Lord – a very challenging path – can be very painful – because it’s a path of sacrifice, of giving of ourselves – of dying to ourselves for the person we love – a path as Jesus said of taking our cross – but it will bear fruit for all eternity of joy – because we follow this path – it’s not a promise that if we do this all our relationships are going to go easily – because we can’t control the other person – but we are at least doing our part – being faithful to follow Jesus, and to draw in union with God – the second reading helps us also know how to answer the question about decision of our relationships if we don’t know the long term future – it’s by listening, to the Lord, following Him instead of the world – with our Blessed Mother, who is a good example of how to make good decisions of discerning God’s will – of offering the body as a living sacrifice – in this Mass, it’s an opportunity especially during the offertory, an opportunity to do what St. Paul has called us to do, to offer our body as a living sacrifice to the Lord – with all the pains, sufferings, we can offer all of this to the Lord, in union with His sacrifice, at this Mass – we have the relic of the Cross of Jesus here as a reminder that we are uniting our sacrifice to His – end by rereading St. Paul’s words – “ I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”