August 9, 2020. Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
1 KGS 19:9A, 11-13A
At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.
Then the LORD said to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
PS 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Brothers and sisters:
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh.
They are Israelites;
theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
theirs the patriarchs, and from them,
according to the flesh, is the Christ,
who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God
Blessed Sunday to all of us! Discouragement and frustrations occur normally in our lives. When none of what we wanted or expect to happen, we do experience this. At times like these, the Lord says to us “Courage! It is I do not be afraid”. However, how do we fight this? Indeed, the greatest fight is not outside but within us. We must wrestle with ourselves to overcome these fears. We must go beyond our own understanding. Yet, not without the grace of God. Peter, in the Gospel today, was able to walk on the water as Jesus allowed.
However, he began to sink because he was distracted by the strong winds. Instead of focusing on Jesus, he focused on the wind more. He was terrified and his fear caused him to sink – forgetting the all-powerful God who is in front of him. Oftentimes, the Lord watches us sink in despair though He was in front of us. It is us who do not notice Him and His silent presence, primarily because of the noises around us. Noises outside and within ourselves. What are these? Let us ask ourselves.
In truth, it is us who choose to turn away our gaze from Him to put emphasis on the problem. As we do this, we become easily overwhelmed and frightened. We tend to overthink rather than believe. Why is that so? Because we choose to rely on our own understanding. In pride, we believe in ourselves too much that we trust only in our own thinking. How about God’s ways which are not our own? Surely, we do our part but then we shall know when to entrust to God.
Why don’t we for a moment, try to forget our own logic and reasoning to embrace God’s? It may require some uncertainties and staying in a path which we do not know, but what we do know is that God is there. God leads the way. He is who we want to follow and God will never lead us astray as opposed to the workings of the world where there are false pleasures, allures, and flawed reasoning – the ones that drive us away from truth and take away our peace.
My brethren, in God’s presence, it is okay to feel fear, worries, discouragement, despair, and disappointment. I hope and pray that we people learn how to feel all these normal human feelings in the presence and in the sight of the Lord. Know that as we sink, there is God. And so, like Peter, in all faith, hope and trust in God, we say to Him “Lord, save me!” do not get tired of calling out to God. We must call on to Him persistently in faith to be heard. He just wants our faith to be stronger that we may know Him better even in uncertainties and in silence – amid strong winds and storms.
Then we shall see immediately that the Lord stretches out His hands to us as He did to Peter to save us. The God who is alive waits for us to call on to Him in faith in trust. It is up to us how to receive His love, care, and compassion for us. We must be open to it. We must reach out for it. We must believe it. Amen. +
God bless you!
Reflections by Frances Mary Margaret DJ
Reading Source © USCCB