Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: began to show his disciples, rebuke him, deny himself, loses his life, find it

To the point: No wonder Peter rebukes Jesus! Jesus “began to show his disciples” what faithful discipleship demands: denying self, losing self, letting self die. Jesus teaches his disciples to let go of self so that a new self can be given. What we relinquish is ourselves as we are now; what we are given is a new self born from identifying completely with Jesus. It takes a lifetime of discipleship to turn from wanting to rebuke Jesus' way of living through the cross to em- bracing it. It takes a lifetime of discipleship to let Jesus transform our life into his Life.

Connecting the Gospel …

… to the First Reading: Jeremiah grows tired of the demands of authentic prophecy; he vows to quit speaking. But God's word burns within him, drawing him back to speaking in God's name. Jesus' faithful disciples cannot avoid the demands of the cross; Jesus draws them to embrace the cross for the sake of receiving his Life.

… to experience: The drive to preserve our life is one of our strongest instincts. In this gospel Jesus is asking us to let go of our life so he can give us something more: a share in his divine Life.

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson