Posted August 31, 2014 by Edmond Lo in
 
 

Our Zeal for God Is Consuming Us!

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 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.

Romans 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.

Matthew 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.”

“My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God” (Psalm 63:2). Gentle in tone and unadorned in expression, the human yearning for God, as reflected in the antiphon of this Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm, belies the zeal and vigour simmering deep in the psalmist’s heart. In fact, his longing for God is so overpowering that it makes him feel “like a land parched, lifeless, and without water” (Psalm 63:2b).

As a volunteer of the FLL ministry, I am constantly amazed by the same zeal and vigour that many fellow volunteers and staff members display in conducting their day-to-day FLL activities: people who travel and incur expenses due to ministry work without seeking reimbursements; people who stay late and get up in the wee hours in order to meet project or event deadlines; volunteers who have taken on so much work that their “voluntary positions” at FLL have effectively turned into full-time jobs without pay ; staff members who willingly accept a smaller salary in order to engage in more meaningful pursuits at FLL; leaders so dedicated to achieving the FLL vision and mission that their personal savings, life styles, daily needs, future plans, etc. have become mere after thoughts. Stories such as these are not uncommon in the FLL ministry.

In this Sunday’s readings, we find out the reason for these people’s dedication. True followers of Christ are driven not by earthly fame and fortunes, but by the love of Christ. “For the love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14)! They share prophet Jeremiah’s passion: They cannot suppress God’s compelling love, nor can they resist the opportunity to proclaim His name. Any attempt to do so will trigger some kind of uneasiness that “becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones” (Jer. 20:9), causing frustrations that are hard to endure. In other words, if these FLL volunteers and staff members work like men/women possessed, it is because what possesses them – what consumes their hearts and souls – is the love of God.

However, their dedication is not without its moments of doubts and wavering. Jesus, who was determined to accept his final suffering at the hands of “the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes” in Jerusalem (Mt. 16:21), heard voices, coming from none other than the future Church leader he had just appointed. “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you,” said Peter (Mt. 16:22). The committed FLL volunteers and staff hear voices too. But when they do, one voice that always stands out is Jesus’ exhortation following his rebuke of Peter: “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” (Mt. 16:24-25).


Edmond Lo

 
As a Catholic speaker, writer and RCIA Catechist, Edmond is very active in promoting and defending the Catholic faith. He has a MBA, a CPA-CMA, and a MTS (Master of Theological Studies) from U.T., St. Augustine's Seminary. Having worked many years as the CFO of a non-profit organization, he retired at 55 to follow his special vocation of evangelization. The activities he conducts include the CMCC Bible Study Program, the Catechism Revisited Program, the FLL Spiritual Formation Program, Living in the Holy Tradition, RCIA, family groups and retreats, etc. Edmond is a member of the FLL Core Team. He writes Sunday Mass reflections regularly for the weekly FLL NewSpiration. His personal blog: http://elodocuments.blogspot.com/