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When Living for His Kingdom is Hard

August 30, 2020   Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 124)

Reading 1   JER 20:7-9

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.

Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage is my message;
the word of the LORD has brought me
derision and reproach all the day.

I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

 Responsorial Psalm   PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. 
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Reading 2   ROM 12:1-2

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. 
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Alleluia   See EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

 Gospel   MT 16:21-27

Jesus began to show 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. 
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” 
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. 
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me. 
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
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? 
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.”

By Caitlyn McQuaide

In this world, I often feel I have two choices: to live for this earth, or to live for His kingdom. This is a daily struggle for me as it often seems much more difficult to live for His kingdom. By demonstrating my love for the Lord, I typically face judgment from my peers. I’m frequently tempted by sin. It’s too easy to judge others and gossip about people who have been unkind to me, but I know these things are wrong. I need to choose daily to demonstrate my love for the Lord by loving others, no matter the person. At the end of the day, when I want to run away from Him and be of this earth, I must remind myself that He is greater than anything this earth could provide and that His unconditional love is unlike any other. 

My soul thirsts for Him. 

When I inevitably go through a phase of pain and potential growth, I typically find myself sitting in the darkness but God always shows me signs that He is near. Just recently, I was in this phase and as I was scrolling through LinkedIn, of all the sites, I saw a post that fit exactly what I was experiencing and it pushed me forward. I have come to find that God always brings me hope, and maybe I don’t always realize it but I need Him. As the psalmist cries in today’s reading, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.” 



It feels like it should be easy to live for His kingdom but with the temptations of this earth, it is always much more difficult. I just keep reminding myself that living for Him will be much more rewarding. Yet, everyday I must make the conscious choice to live for Him. His love for us cannot compare to any other love. As a human, I make mistakes but God still loves me despite my countless sins, and therefore,

I must choose to seek Him every day. 

At the end of the day, I must take up my cross and follow Him. Jesus died for me and the least I can do is live for Him. I must strive everyday to think like God does, and not as human beings do. Each day I will love my neighbors as myself, by spreading kindness and not judging another based only on what my eyes see.

I will spend time with God, by reading my Bible and/or through prayer and conversation. Surely, this will continue to be a challenge but if His will is truly “good and pleasing and perfect”, then I would be a fool to continue conforming myself to the things of this earth. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Caitlyn McQuaide is a recent John Carroll graduate who finds great joy in spending time with her family, reading a good book, buying herself fresh flowers, and appreciating the beauty of God's green earth. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she is constantly striving to dig deeper in her faith. She is passionate about mental health, the power of vulnerability, writing, and making others smile. Find out more about her here.

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