Jesus made known to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)
This prediction of the Lord’s Passion caught Jesus’ disciples by surprise. Evidently, Peter along with the other disciples, did not understand what kind of Messiah Jesus was; they expected a warrior king who would conquer the enemies of Israel in a military battle. Therefore, the idea that Jesus would suffer greatly and be killed is a complete contradiction to their expectations. They couldn’t believe nor accept it. Peter rebuked Jesus and said: “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22). Peter’s words were an attempt to divert Jesus from God’s plan of salvation, so Jesus rebuked Peter and said: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16:23)
Do you remember the Gospel passage where Jesus was tempted in the desert? Satan promised Jesus that he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, if only Jesus would bow down and worship him. That temptation was also an attempt to divert Jesus from God’s plan of salvation. Satan tempted Jesus to take the easy way – He can still be the Messianic King and the ruler of the world without having to suffer and die on the Cross. As the Messianic King, Jesus can still save the world by forcing all the kingdoms of the world into obeying Him. But that is not God’s way – God wants us to obey Him not by forcing us to do so, but out of love for Him. Jesus rebuked Satan and said: “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve.” (Matthew 10:10)
Jesus then addressed His disciples with the following four statements; statements which define what being a disciple of Christ mean:
- “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
- “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
- “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?” (Matthew 16:26)
- “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” (Matthew 16:27)
Taking these statements in the context of the preceding verses in Matthew’s Gospel, it becomes evident that taking up one’s cross and following Christ means not taking the easy way – especially when the easy way leads to sin. Whoever tries to preserve his life by always putting his needs before anyone else’s, will lose it, because he eventually loses God in his life. But whoever remains faithful to Christ despite the hardships in life will find it, because God is in his life. Therefore, what good is it to love no one but oneself? Even if one gains all the power and riches of the world, it is not worth losing eternal life with God in heaven.
The Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission’s financial report for fiscal year 2019-2020 is now available on the printed August 30, 2020 weekly bulletin. Please note that this information is intended only for our church members, and it will not be published on the website.
In case you missed it, in a memo dated August 25, 2020, Archbishop Gregory John Hartmayer has extended the dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until September 28, 2020. At the same time, the Archbishop encourages those who are healthy and are not burdened with the fear of being exposed to the virus to begin returning to Mass and receive the Sacraments.