Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 3, 2017
When was the last time you were really angry? Have you ever been really angry at God? I remember being quite angry when I was fifteen years old. I was on the school basketball team and the only time the coach would put me in a game was when our team was either ahead or behind by thirty points. I felt like such a loser. I blamed God for not making me a better basketball player, someone like Stephen Curry. You may be surprised to see that the Scriptures include stories of people being angry at God. In the readings for this week the prophet Jeremiah is really angry at God because his ministry as a prophet has brought him “reproach and derision” (v. 8d). Jeremiah does not like this suffering. He’s mad. Too often we imagine that if we are following God, then we will never be angry at God. But this is not true. In the Gospel reading we hear this same anger expressed by Peter when he rebukes Jesus. Peter was angry with Jesus because he had left everything to follow him and expected Jesus to establish a new kingdom, with Peter as his right hand man. Jesus is angry too. He says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Jesus is revealing a truth that is very hard to hear. Suffering will be part of the journey of following God. Taking up the Cross is very challenging news. Suffering often makes us angry!
Jesus’ journey of suffering (the Cross) leads to Resurrection. This is the central mystery of Christianity. This is called the Paschal Mystery. We participate in this Mystery as we journey from anger and suffering to new life, healing, and Resurrection. Theologian Gerard Broccolo uses the metaphor of turning one’s cross into a bridge. He explains that after we suffer for a sufficient amount of time, we can start to see that others are suffering too. We can start to use our own suffering as a bridge to reach out to others. We can bend our cross into a wonderful bridge of access to God’s love through our compassion. In this action of turning our crosses to bridges we find new life. When we share honestly about our own anger or suffering, we help others realize that they are not alone. When our focus turns from our own anger and suffering to care and compassion for others, we find new life, new joy, and new love. We rise together!
When was a time when you suffered and were angry at God because of this suffering? Who is someone you know who is suffering right now? How might you be a bridge of compassion to this person this week?
God’s Word, Your World! 2017–2018 © 2017 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Orders: 1-800-933-1800. Written by Jeffery Kaster. NABRE © 2010 CCD. Permission to publish granted by the Most Reverend Francis J. Kane, dd, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Chicago, on September 19, 2016.