Mt 16, 21-27
Today we reflect on the Gospel of Matthew (16:21-27), which reflects the harmony of creation. We encounter a passage beyond a mere conversation between Jesus and His disciples. This passage invites us to reflect on the deeper meaning of being followers of Christ and how that commitment intertwines with our responsibility to care for the divine creation.
When Jesus announces His suffering and death at the hands of religious leaders, Peter rebukes Him, seeking to avert this tragic fate. However, Jesus responds firmly, admonishing Peter and urging him to grasp divine priorities beyond human concerns. Here, we find a lesson about detachment from worldly gains and the importance of embracing the way of the cross.
In the context of creation care, this passage can shed light on our duty to recognize the interconnectedness between the web of life and humanity. Just as Peter sought to prevent Jesus’ suffering, we may often be tempted to shirk the necessary challenges to address environmental issues. Yet, as followers of Christ, we are called to take up the responsibility of preserving and caring for God’s creation.
The phrase “If anyone wants to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” takes on a broader dimension within the eco-spirituality context. Denying oneself can mean relinquishing the mindset of exploitation and unchecked consumption. Taking up the cross can be interpreted as bearing the responsibility to protect the Earth and the species that inhabit it.
Ultimately, this passage reminds us that our calling as followers of Christ is inseparable from our responsibility to care for the divine creation. The cross and the care of creation are united in bearing witness to God’s love and justice. By following Jesus, we embrace not only the path of redemption but also the path of restoring all things, including the common home that God has entrusted to us. As Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’, “the human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation” (LS 48). Thus, in following Christ, we recognize that our commitment to ecological stewardship is a vital expression of our faith and love for both God and His creation.
Let’s celebrate this Season of Creation Sunday in harmony with Creation and our sisters and brothers.