Each of the three readings in today’s Mass tells us we must prepare ourselves for tough blows in this life. As they say, we must know how to roll with the punches. There is no way to live in this world without finding a share of sorrow. If, instead of moaning and fighting off all pain, we accept it as part of our human condition, we can turn it to our advantage.
Let’s take the readings one at a time. In the first reading Jeremiah, a quiet living man, accepted God’s call for him to speak as God’s prophet, and he found that it led him to being abused all around. He complains about his unpopularity. He blamed God for tricking him into the life as a prophet. He told God, “You duped me. You have turned me into a bearer of bad news.” He said he would speak in God’s name no more; but the message for the people that God gave him to deliver became like fire burning within him, and he couldn’t hold it in.
In the second reading Paul asked us to push aside attempts at living for pleasure. He said that if we sacrifice ourselves to good causes we will find ourselves transformed into noble people with our minds renewed.
In the Gospel Jesus told the Apostles that he was now firm in his purpose of going up to Jerusalem to give himself up for everyone’s good. When Peter offered help to let Jesus take the easy way out Jesus called him Satan. That event points out the difference between pleasure and happiness. There is pleasure for us in avoiding the tough tasks that come our way; but happiness can only be found in bravely doing what must be done.