We prefer pleasant thoughts to discomforting ones. Today’s responsorial psalm, from Psalm 116, is full of reassuring and uplifting words:
I love the Lord because he has heard my voice in supplication.
He has inclined His ear to me the day I called.
Gracious is the Lord and just; yes, our God is merciful.
I was brought low, and He saved me.
He has freed my soul from death.
I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
We need to hear words like these often but we can hear them only if our ears and our hearts are open to them. If my treasure is elsewhere, on the things of this world, then I won’t hear them.
The words of the other readings are not so comforting. Isaiah exclaims, The Lord opens my ear that I may hear…I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard. He is echoing a reality that most of us can recognize. We seem to open our ears to the Lord more quickly when problems beset us. We don’t hear much when times are good. It’s human nature.
Jesus has to rebuke Peter in today’s Gospel for thinking as a human being instead of recognizing God’s Will. It’s natural and we are no different, especially in good times.
St. James advises us to live and practice our Faith with good works. It’s a discomforting question but let’s consider it. Could I be doing more, in appreciation for what God has done for me, as I walk before the Lord in the land of the living?