Homily for the twenty-second Sunday of the year - Year A - Mt. 16:21-27
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, «God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.» But he turned and said to Peter, «Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.»
 
" Then Jesus told his disciples, «If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. "
 
Today's gospel follows on from last Sunday's. Now, last week, we witnessed Simon-Peter's profession of faith, and the establishment of the Apostle as the first Stone of the Church that Jesus wants to build. So we are at a turning point in the life of Jesus and in that of the entire world! Consequently, the gospel we read today sketches out the new guideline followed by the Savior of the world!
 
Jesus wants to build his Church! "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church." (Mt. 16:18) Jesus did not tell us to build a Church, which would be our Church: no, Jesus said that he would build HIS Church! How will he do this? He says it quite simply: "Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."
 
The building of the Church is realized in the following way: through death and resurrection! First Jesus says it in words, and then he will provide the example and do it concretely: he will die and rise again, he will be rejected by the high priests and by some of his People, he will become the cornerstone rejected by the builders (cf. 1 Peter 2:7), in order that Simon might become the first stone of this building, which is the entire Body of Christ!
 
" And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, «God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.» But he turned and said to Peter, «Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.» "
 
While it is Jesus who builds his Church, we will not be inactive. Sometimes, like Peter, we will even go against the action of the Lord... For the temptation is great: to build a paradise on earth, a new tower of Babel... Certainly, the way is marked out, and Jesus was the first to set forth upon it: he died and rose again! Whenever we do something, may our work go in the same direction as that of the Lord. Let us help Him to build his Church!
 
Let us reread what Saint Paul taught: "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." (1 Cor. 3:5-6)
 
" Then Jesus told his disciples, «If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.» "
 
Jesus builds his Church... The Eucharist, which is Jesus, builds up the Body of Christ, which is the Church. When we partake of Jesus-Eucharist, it is of his sacrifice that we partake. At least, that should be our intention. For to receive communion is to build up the Church. Now, Jesus builds his Church in but a single way: through death and resurrection! So, to receive communion, to receive Jesus-Eucharist within us, is to walk in Jesus' footsteps, it is to bear our cross, in order to build up the Church through our resurrection in Christ!
 
Each person must bear his own cross. We must not bear a cross that is not our own! For each person's cross is determined by Jesus: it is the cross that Jesus chose for us! This cross is proportionate to our strength: it is not too heavy, for it is the Love of Jesus that chose it; and it is heavy enough to lower us down to a sincere and true humility...
 
Jesus will return! Let us not forget it! "The Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father..." Already, today, he comes into us through the Eucharist: let us ask Mary to prepare our heart to receive him worthily, for the Glory of the Father! Amen!
 

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