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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
Psalm 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14, (8)
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33
August 9, 2020

After sending his disciples on their way, Jesus “went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”  There He encountered God his Father.  As much as Jesus needed to do this in prayer, we need to pray all the more.  We need to have the Lord come into our lives.

Sent on their way, the disciples encountered a storm where they were “tossed about by the waves for the wind was against them.”  When we strive to follow Jesus as the way and the truth and the life, we can feel like the waves of society are against us.  We need to encounter God for strength and support.

As the disciples faced the storm, Jesus “came toward them walking on the sea.”  One might think they would rejoice at this but instead they were terrified, thinking it must be a ghost.  After all, I’m sure they hadn’t seen anyone walk on water before.

Knowing their fear, Jesus said to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  When Peter realizes it is Jesus, he asks Jesus to invite him to join him.  Jesus does.  Peter actually began to walk on water!  But it didn’t last long.  “He became frightened” and began to sink.  He called to Jesus for help and, of course, Jesus saved him.

We come here because we want to follow Jesus.  Sometimes we do but then it becomes difficult.  We begin to sink in sin.  That’s when we go to Confession so Jesus can save us.

It isn’t always easy to follow Jesus.  Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith.”  Perhaps at times we feel like our faith isn’t very strong.

This isn’t unique to us.  Peter had his struggles.  Elijah had his struggles.

Just prior to the encounter of Elijah with God in today’s first reading, Elijah defeated, by the power of God, the 450 prophets of Baal.  Having seen God manifest his power in this way, one might think Elijah would be strong in faith.

As today’s reading picks up, Elijah is in a cave.  Why?  Because following the victory over the 450 prophets of Baal, Jezebel, the king’s wife, is trying to have him killed.  Elijah goes to the cave to hide.

God comes to Elijah in his fear.  God invites Elijah outside as “the LORD will be passing by.”  The Lord comes to him but how?

First there is a strong driving wind.  At times God is present in the wind.  For example, in Genesis 2:7, God breathes life into Adam.  In the Exodus 14:31, God parts the Red Sea with the wind.  However, God was not in the wind with Elijah.

Then, there was an earthquake.  Think of how the earth shook when Jesus died (Matthew 27:52).  But again, God was not present in the earthquake that day with Elijah.

Then comes fire.  For Moses, God came in the fire of burning bush (Exodus 3) but not for Elijah.

No, that day the Lord came to Elijah in “a tiny whispering sound.”  The Lord came in silence.  That’s why we need silence.  We shouldn’t try to do all the talking in prayer.  Sometimes we need to listen.  Sometimes we simply need to be silent.

God manifests himself in different ways to different people at different times.  Each encounter with God can be unique but there are some commonalities.  God comes to us when we make ourselves silent in prayer.  God comes to us as we celebrate Mass.  God comes to us in the Liturgy of the Word as we hear “what God proclaims.” 

In our psalm verse today, we respond, “Lord, let us see your kindness.  God comes to us in acts of love.  We need that love.  We need to do our part to let God’s love be shown to others through us. 

It’s about openness.  God is always with us.  God is with us 24/7.  Yet, we may find ourselves often not aware of his presence.  It’s all about openness.  Do we let God be manifest to us?

We know we should be aware of God’s presence at Mass.  Even then sometimes one might struggle a little.

We know God is with us in prayer but sometimes we are so tied up in our struggles that we ramble on complaining but we forget to stop and listen to God as He comes to us in prayer.

When we take a walk or a ride on a boat, we might see the beauty of the water, the trees, the grass, flowers, and the land.  Do we see God in the things He created?  God comes to us in what He creates.

What storms do you face right now?  How are you aware of God coming to you in the storms?  Know that He does.  Know that God is always with you.

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