Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Nancy Rowen, SNDdeN

Aug 30, 2023 | Gospel Reflections

September 3, 2023

Matthew 16: 21-27

Before any serious commitment, we need clarity: What does this offer and what will it require from me? Will it be worth it? Am I able and willing?

Today’s Gospel begins, “From that time on… Jesus began to show his disciples….” what lay ahead: suffering, dying, and new life. “No way!” was the deeply human, initial response by Peter, who like ourselves, only really understood the first two concepts.
It is hard to be reminded of the suffering that will come with every truly giving of oneself to a person or a cause. Yet, with all our hopes and dreams for happiness and peace, the paradox remains true: “It won’t cost you more than your life!” Jesus, the Christ, knew it; and at some level we all do. Seeing clearly, Jesus doesn’t sugar coat the truth, nor does he leave us to bear it alone.

Just prior to Jesus’ first prediction of his approaching passion and death, is Peter’s insight in verse 16, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. The truth was powerful. Jesus hears and is confirmed in himself. Recognizing Peter’s Leadership, he affirms and empowers his friend and disciple for a new role.

Seven months ago, I got a phone call my grandniece, excited to tell me the unexpected news of her first pregnancy! As the days and weeks passed, I noticed in her a certain calm. Thinking how the birth of a child would change everything…. for the rest of her life, I asked. She recounted, “When I first told my husband, he was calm. Later, he was clear and simple saying, ‘I was surprised, too; but we are not alone; and in nine months, we’ll have whatever we need to become parents. We’ll be ready when the time comes; then, learn as she grows.”
That kind of confidence gives one the courage to take up whatever life demands, trusting all will be well, both now and whenever troubles come. Grounded, we proceed with a recognizable peace.

Jesus, Our Risen Lord and Brother, fully attuned to the Mind and Heart of God, lived the same human journey as we, for 33 years. He is the Source of our hope now, as then. In him is our visible revelation of the invisible God. Only with the eyes of faith, can we see clearly.
Like Peter, these young parents-to-be and so many ancestors in faith, we love, believe and follow Jesus, the Son of the Living God. We, too, can trust that the same Spirit that embodied Jesus of Nazareth, now companions and guides us along our way come what may.

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.”



Meet Sister Nancy Rowen, SNDdeN


Sister Nancy Rowen, a Sister of Notre Dame, was originally a high school teacher of Religion and Foreign Languages. Following her active involvement with the Cursillo and Ecumenical Movements post Vatican Council II, she has served the last fifty years in the Church of Boston in Parish Pastoral Ministry and individual Spiritual Direction. Her ministry focus is toward cultivating and integrating our human and spiritual lives. Her background and continuing interests are in Scripture, Theology, Sacred music and dance in Worship, along with Human and Social Development. Sr. Nancy brings rich experiences of inclusion and equity of the diverse peoples of our communities. Currently she lives in community with four others sisters.