Take Up Your Cross

16 Sep

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.  (Is 50:5-6)

Today’s readings can be quite disturbing — because they really “point the finger”, right at each and every one of us.

Isaiah, in the first reading, is speaking about the suffering servant who is to come.  Though they did not know who it would be, we all know that person to be Jesus Christ.  Jesus perfectly embodied those prophecies of Him.  He listened to God.  He never turned back on his course.  He did not shield Himself from abuse and rejection.  He continuously put Himself out there for everyone to encounter whether or not it would bring Him misfortune.

Because that was one of the things that He taught: “fortune” and “misfortune” were elements of this world.  And it is not this world for which we should be longing; but, rather, we should be longing for the world to come, the Kingdom of God.

If that is the case, if we are truly living for the Kingdom of God, then we, too, have to “set our faces like flint” and not look back.  We, too, must seek out the poor and the needy and minister to their needs.  Paul reminds us, in the second reading, that faith without works is dead.  If we say we believe, we must live as believers: caring for all of God’s people.

That is, generally, not the message that people like to hear.

Peter did not like to hear that message, either.

Peter, although he proclaimed Jesus to be “the Christ” had an entirely skewed idea of what that Christ was supposed to be.  When Jesus informed His followers that He would have to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, Peter argued with Him, trying to steer Him on a different course.

Jesus’ response?

“Get behind me, Satan.  You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.”

That was awfully harsh.  Yet that was the only response that could have been given to Peter, so off course had he strayed in his belief about “the Christ.”

Jesus continuously brings us back on course if we but allow.

FAITH ACTION:  “Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  What good deed(s) can you do today to show your faith to the world?