The Word This Week ~ 31 August 2014
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First Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-9
One might have thought that when one embraced YHWH, or least accepted his word, there would follow obvious and bountiful blessing. Well not according to these musings in Jeremiah. In fact what he encounters is nothing short of a horror story, in which he suffers hugely. Is this the reward for YHWH’s faithful? If so it explains the characteristic reluctance of the prophet, and indeed the ensuing persecution that he or she inevitably experiences.
Second Reading: Romans 12:1-2
It is in the context of the cost of discipleship that Paul pulls no punches. In the opening verses of this chapter, he encourages, exhorts, seeks to inspire but he does not dodge the word ‘sacrifice’. Given his audience’s background in temple sacrifice the inherent demand for a complete self-giving is unavoidable. Having said this, the context
developed by Paul here is around the building up to the Christian community, including challenges such as love of one’s enemies.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:21-27
Close and careful reading of the text reminds us that each is called to carry his or her own cross. The danger is that we make a facile link, and a direct comparison, with the shouldering of the Cross by Jesus. This is important for many reasons but crucially that we are the sinners, Jesus is
the Saviour. In the words of Eliot, Jesus embraces the condition of complete simplicity ‘costing not less the anything’. This kenosis is not as a result of our efforts, as in deserved overdue reward for faithfulness, no rather a complete ongoing selfless giving on the part of Jesus, framed by obedience to the Father and pure love for us.
Published Wed 3rd Sep 2014 15:32:13