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Fire in My Bones | Breaking Open the Word at Home



The readings for this Sunday, September 3, are a complete turnaround for Peter from last week. You’ve got to feel for the guy—has anyone ever called you Satan?


by Jen Schlameuss-Perry


The readings for this Sunday, September 3, are a complete turnaround for Peter from last week. You’ve got to feel for the guy—has anyone ever called you Satan? Can you imagine if Jesus did? That had to be rough. But, life is like that–some days you’re saying all the right things, some days you couldn’t be more off track. We don’t have to be perfect to be effective; we have to be open to correction, and willing to sacrifice for the truth.



Jeremiah 20:7-9
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

Psalm 63
My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Romans 12:1-2
Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind

Matthew 16:21-27
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for September 3, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Animated Scripture preview for kids at CathKids



Peter, Peter, Peter…he recognizes that Jesus is God, and the Messiah one minute, and then tries to sidetrack Jesus from his very difficult mission the next minute. Jesus told him and his other friends something terrible; that he was going to be betrayed, suffer and die. It would be natural for anyone to react the way Peter did. He meant well…he spoke out of love…but it was misplaced and not the response that Jesus needed at that time. Remember, he wasn’t looking forward to being crucified, either, and probably would have been very glad to have the support of his friends, instead of them dissuading them from what must be done. Also, Jesus needed Peter to know that when Jesus did die, Peter would have to be ready to take up his cross; and be willing to sacrifice himself for the truth of the Gospel.
The first reading, from the awesome Prophet Jeremiah expresses a similar situation. Jeremiah, who was called to be a Prophet as a very young person, was sent to the enemies of his people to tell them what God had to say. That meant that he needed to correct their evil ways. They did’t want to hear it. They rejected, tortured and eventually killed him for speaking God’s Word. He was faithful to the call that God gave him, and felt betrayed by God when he was treated so badly for doing what was right. He was scared, and wanted to give up—but he couldn’t. Whenever he tried to quit, the truth was so much a part of him that, “it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.” (Jer 20:9) He had to keep on keeping on.
St. Paul entreats us to be counter-cultural. He reiterates that we have to make ourselves a sacrifice for others, as Jesus did for us. “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1) The Gospel follows up with Jesus’ response to Peter; that anyone who wants to follow him has to take up their crosses, too. Even if we miss the mark, or lose sight of our mission, like poor Peter did, we can count on God to re-kindle that fire in our hearts, to remember the truth, and help us to think as God does.



Jesus tells Peter that he should be thinking the way God thinks. How does God think?



Have you ever wanted to give up on God? What brought you back? Was it a fire in your bones like it was with Jeremiah? What truth is so important to you that you can’t give up on it?



Have you ever, like St. Peter, spoken out of turn, meaning well, but not offering the response that was needed? How can we balance proper concern for others and meddling? Do you encourage people to do the right thing even when it will cause them pain or stress, or do you protect them from living up to their responsibilities?

Related: How to Preview the Sunday Scriptures with Your Kids


A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.


A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.


The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”


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Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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