Jesus reveals shocking details of His coming Passion for the first time. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Sacrifice so he can mortify his cravings and prepare himself to sacrifice for God and others and by pursuing the Virtue of Prayer so he can rely on God to guide him every day.
22nd Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 16:21-27
After confirming Simon’s God-inspired proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus renames Simon as Peter (meaning “rock”) and blesses him, promising He will build the everlasting Church upon Peter and give him the power to bind and loose on earth.
Jesus then reveals He would be rejected, killed and raised from the dead; this is the opposite of the Jewish hope for a conquering political Messiah King. When Peter, showing his impulsiveness and confusion, attempts to correct Jesus in private, Jesus harshly rebukes him, likening him to Satan, who opposes the will of God.
Jesus’ call that disciples must pick up the means of death (the Cross) if they wish to be disciples was shocking, for all had witnessed the gruesome and excruciating evil of crucifixion, publicly practiced by the Romans to coerce conquered masses into submission. The Cross is shocking, for men have the natural instinct to preserve life and to avoid death. Jesus’ meaning is not simply figurative, for He explicitly says that men must be willing to forfeit their lives. This sacrifice, that Jesus has announced that He Himself will endure, is a requirement all disciples must also be willing to endure; if a man is to be a disciple of Jesus, he must be willing to lay down his life for Jesus’ sake. Jesus then reveals the reward for a disciple who is willing to die for Jesus’ sake is their eternal salvation. Jesus, assisted by angels, reveals that He will judge and will “repay every man for what he has done.” Jesus’ astounding promise that some of the men present will “see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom” (v 28 omitted from the Liturgy) will soon come true in His Resurrection and Ascension.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Soberly consider with holy fear what Jesus, the perfection of Justice, reveals here: the perfection of Sacrifice, Jesus will demonstrate the heroic Sacrifice (a part of Justice) to which He calls men when He is crucified on the Cross; confirming Vindication (a part of Justice by which men are rewarded or punished for their thoughts and deeds), Jesus, the Divine Judge, reveals every man will be repaid for “what they have done.”
Mortify self-indulgence to prepare for sacrifice
Realize: In opposition to Christ’s call that His men must be willing to persevere in extreme sacrifice, the modern culture increasingly promotes the Vice of Effeminacy, which is a softness, a preference for pleasure, and an unwillingness to endure hardship; this is seen in the promotion of a victim mentality, dependence on government, fragileness, safe spaces, prolonged adolescence, self-indulgent consumerism.
Believe: Reflect upon Christ’s call to Pick up one’s Cross (CCC 618, 1435, 1642, 1816, 2427, 2012-2016).
Pray: Jesus, Crucified Christ, help me build the Virtue of Sacrifice (a part of Justice) so I reject over indulgence and my desire for comfort, temper myself through mortification to prepare for hardship, commit myself to sacrifice for You, and heroically give of myself to build Your Kingdom.
Pray daily to follow where Jesus is leading you
Realize: Jesus calls every Catholic man to “take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Lk 9:23); to follow Christ daily, a man must draw near Jesus each day in prayer so he can hear His call.
Believe: Reflect upon the need for Daily Prayer (CCC 2659-2660).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Prayer, help me build the Virtue of Prayer (a part of Justice) so I speak and listen to You each day, know where You are leading me, and I pick up my cross and better follow You, my Lord and Savior.