Friday, December 19, 2008
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mt 16: 21-27
I had just completed a summer in a monastery, and was walking into church on Sunday morning to say mass, at peace with the world going my way, when my friend Karen stopped me in the parking lot and told me that her sister, my friend, Elaine had died suddenly two days before. Elaine was only 49 years old. I was shocked, but then the thought came to me, “Oh I don’t want to hear this.” My happiness plans for a nice day were being ruined by the unfortunate and tragic news of Elaine’s death.
I was being like Peter in the gospel. I am a Satan! Peter was a friend of Jesus, and thought that life was going pretty well for them. Jesus upset Peter’s plans by telling him about Jesus’ suffering and death, which would come all too quickly for Peter’s taste. Peter did not want to hear this news. It interfered with Peter’s plans for a nice life.
My deceased friend Elaine was a person who gave up a lot of her life to have a deeper life in service to others. She lived what Jesus talked about in the gospel. Let go of your life plan for happiness, that is so often self-centered, become a follower of Jesus in love, and you will find your real life, the one that goes on all the way through death to eternity.
Peter and I both have the right belief in Jesus. We know our catechism if you will. But the gospel says that the Son of Man will come with his angels to repay us according to what we have done and not according to what we have believed. Elaine tried to teach all her friends how to let go and let God into our lives. It is called the Way of love.