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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Aug. 28, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

August 28, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Jeremiah 20:7-9

Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9

2) Romans 12:1-2

Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27

During the last weeks of her daughter's life, Patty slept with her in her bed.

Dorothy, in her early 50s, had been terminally ill for a year, and she finally gave up medical treatment when it became pointless and the side effects unreasonable. With pain medication, though, she sometimes writhed in her sleep.

"I was afraid she was going to fall out of bed," Patty explained.

One night, Dorothy woke up and was surprised to find her mother next to her.

"What are you doing?" the daughter asked.

"You move around so much, I just wanted to keep you from falling," Patty answered.

Her daughter smiled. "Why? What's the worst that can happen?"

Patty realized the irony, but she couldn't help her natural desire to protect her loved one from suffering. However, she recalled later, Dorothy was at peace with the life she'd lived and with the promise of the one to come.

In this weekend's Gospel reading, Peter demonstrates that same desire to prevent hardship from coming to his Master. But Jesus reminds him that he's thinking as human beings think, not with the mind of God, who knows that suffering in this world is a necessary sacrifice for finding peace in the real, lasting world of God's kingdom.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul explains further that we human beings must transform our habits of thinking. Instead of conforming ourselves to this age, we must renew our minds to be able to discern the will of God.

My friend Patty told me that Dorothy had indeed given her life to serving people in need. Even though it meant a low salary for the single mother of three, Dorothy was committed to her work as a social services caseworker.

"She was always so compassionate and made such an impact in the lives of the people who came to her," Patty said.

Dorothy had long ago understood the will of God; her life was conformed to it. She accepted the sacrifices and hardship that life involved, knowing the salvation to come.

The example of Dorothy's life, which was lived well, brought peace and understanding of the reign of God to her mother and children as well.

QUESTIONS:

In your thinking, what are the obstacles to being able to discern the will of God? What must you do to "lose" your world-bound life for the sake of Jesus' Gospel?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"For your kindness is a greater good than life. ... Thus will I bless you while I live; lifting up my hands." (Psalm 63:4-5)

END



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