Sunday, August 30 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
And so we come to the conclusion of the month of August. This summer many of us, including myself, did not have a chance to go away to visit our families and relatives due to the obvious, but hopefully we have still had the chance to slow down and enjoy this beautiful season. This Sunday we will celebrate the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. I invite you to enter into the celebration by pondering the Gospel reading.
“This Sunday’s gospel reading from Matthew immediately follows last week’s, which is not always the case in the Lectionary. In other words, the episode about Jesus rebuking Peter today comes immediately after the story of Peter proclaiming Jesus the Christ and Jesus in turn saying he will build his church upon this “rock.” In some ways, this is a good reminder of the unintended life of discipleship when we can experience extreme highs one moment and fall into such depths the next. For all Peter’s exuberance in proclaiming Jesus the Christ, it is only a few verses later that Jesus is rebuking him for thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.
And what precisely is the cause of the rebuke? How is Peter thinking as human beings do? It’s because Peter does not comprehend or understand the necessity of suffering and how it is a constitutive element of Jesus’ identity as Messiah. Though the Old Testament does not say it, Jesus certainly does. The Messiah will suffer and die. Peter, informed by the Scriptures, has good justification for telling Jesus that he has it all wrong. When Peter proclaimed Jesus Messiah, he did not have in mind suffering and death, but triumph and jubilation. This is the source of the misunderstanding. But Jesus, ever the teacher, takes the time to explain how and why Peter has it wrong. Jesus will encounter opposition that will lead to his death. The same can be said for the disciples.
As the meaning of discipleship becomes more clear, we can wonder how Jesus had any remaining disciples! If the cost of discipleship is one’s very life, perhaps it’s better not to be a disciple? In the gospels it’s clear that “would-be disciples” do in fact leave Jesus – they cease to follow him. But Peter and the others maintain their relationship with him, allowing it to go deeper, into a more full and complete understanding. By seeking to save one’s life, it will be lost. By giving away one’s life, it will be saved.” (Living Liturgy 2020)
As many of you are aware, there was a power outage that affected much of Stoney Creek today. It also has caused a power surge that fried our internet modem, and so I’m using my cellphone to publish this. We will not have internet access in the office until some time on Monday, so thank-you in advance to anyone trying to contact us by email for your patience.
I would like to invite you, if you are able, to attend the Saturday 5:30pm Mass rather than the two Sunday Masses as there is more room available in the Chapel Hall on Saturdays.
Please continue to wear your mask, sanitize your hands upon entrance to the building, and follow the directions of our ushers as they seat you. This is greatly appreciated and makes the experience of attending Mass during this unusual time that much easier for everyone.
As always, the 9:00am Sunday Mass will be live-streamed, beginning with the Rosary at 8:30am. I invite all those who prefer to or must remain at home to join our community virtually in this way. Please click the picture below for the live-stream.