Jeremiah 20:7-9,
Psalm 63,
Romans 12:1-2,
Matthew 16:21-27

It has been said that the “key word” in the Christian message is change in thinking, speaking, and acting. The Lord changed Jeremiah and, rather forcefully, called him to prophesy. Peter also was sternly told by Jesus to change his way of thinking. We, too, are called to transform our minds. The Greek word translated “repentance” is, which literally means a “change of mind.”


Jeremiah says he let himself be duped by the Lord. The Lord drew him into a love relationship, then gave him the difficult mission of prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah condemned idolatry, the greed of priests, and false prophets – enough to bring about a conspiracy to kill him! But Jeremiah laments that if he tries to “shut up” and keep from prophesying, the word of God burns like fire in his heart and he can’t contain it. Jeremiah has to change his intentions in spite of himself!


After Jesus predicts his arrest, trial, suffering, death and resurrection, Peter rebuked him saying, “God forbid, Lord!” Jesus, however, turned on Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Just a few verses before these, Jesus had called Peter the Rock on which the Church would be built. Here the Lord is calling him “Satan” and an obstacle, saying that his thinking has to be radically changed!


In keeping with today’s message of change, St. Paul exhorts us: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” A change in thinking is the only way to truly discern God’s will. Conformity to the world, to this age, to the secular culture around us is only a recipe for disaster.


It has been said that God loves us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us there. God said to Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). God gave Jeremiah a task that involved much suffering. The same was true, of course, with Peter. Jesus went to the cross and calls us to follow Him there. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and God’s ways not our ways. So, may the Lord change us, so that we think His thoughts and follow His ways.

Al Mansfield