Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time, Year A
August 9, 2020 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community, Palm Springs, CA
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
I Kings 19:9A;11-13A | Psalm 85:9-14
Romans 9:1-5 | Matthew 14:22-33

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN.      

In today’s Gospel from Matthew, we are presented with more examples of Jesus’ divinity when he walks on water and commands the winds and waves.

But we also see humanity in Peter, who as someone like us, he sinks and falls sometimes.

Doubt prevails in all of us.  It is not actually a sin, but more of a problem.  We have doubt for a reason: mainly, so that we do not accept everything we are told without questioning it.

But we all want a loving, compassionate God who knows all things and will give us everlasting life.

In our first reading today from 1 Kings, Elijah is looking for help from God at a cave in Mt. Horeb which is part of Mt. Sinai.  There were powerful winds and Elijah looks for God, but He is not there.  Then, an earthquake and fire follow, but still no sign of God.  Finally, after the fire, Elijah hears a soft whispering sound and recognizes the voice of God.

This is evidence to the way God is faithful and is always there for us.  When we are free from the outside distractions of life, we can hear God speak to us just as He spoke to Elijah at the cave.

In our second reading from Romans, Paul grieves for his Jewish followers who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior.  Paul would like to exchange his life in order to give them faith.  But the Jews expect a different kind of God:  that of a conquering hero made in their image.  But we are all made in Jesus’ image, not vice versa.  Paul teaches us to always be concerned about others.  It is through this that we derive our inner peace.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Fr. David told us how Jesus fed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.  The great mystery about who Jesus really is continues in today’s Gospel when the disciples see Jesus walking on water.

Now, they are really spooked!  They think they have seen a ghost!  But Jesus says,  “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter replies, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

And Jesus replies, “Come!”

So Peter gets out of the boat and starts to walk on the water, but he begins to sink and a strong wind comes and Peter is terrified and cries out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately, Jesus stretches out His hand and catches Peter.

Not only does Jesus rescue Peter, He calms the storm and the wind.  So the disciples in the boat have now come to the realization that Jesus is truly “the Son of God!”

Jesus reveals His divinity through walking on water and calming the winds and the storm.

The disciples fear and lack of faith diminish and their love, courage and trust in Him has grown.

Since Jesus can do all things:

Feeding the 5,000

Walking on water

Calming storms

What do they or we have to fear?

What about you?  What do you fear?  Do you trust in Jesus?  That is the only way you will find the strength and courage to live faithfully now, especially in this time of a pandemic and social unrest.

Scripture reminds us that the road to a fulfilled life is narrow and very few have the courage and love to take it.  Many choose the road to perdition which is filled with self-centered cowards who live for nothing but themselves.

Jesus walking on water is one of the most famous stories in the Gospels.  The boat symbolizes the church, which is where we want to be and the disciples are the congregation.  The sea represents the universe and Peter signifies humanity seeking God.

When Jesus catches Peter in the water, He shows us that He is always there for us and willing to reach out and save us.

In life, there are always events happening which are beyond our control such as the current pandemic.  In these situations, we are tempted to doubt God or forget our need for God.  But it is precisely in these times that we need to listen for God’s voice—the calm reassuring presence of the Holy Spirit that lets us know that God is reaching out to save us.

In all of our readings today, we are reminded that whenever we lack faith, courage, or are simply afraid, we are not at peace.  But when we seek God and take the time to listen, God will give us our desired peace of mind.  When we encounter Jesus in our lives, peace is restored and all our storms and troubles go away.

In Greek, the word, faith, is pistis, meaning belief.  Faith means belief or firm persuasion, assurance, and firm conviction.  Faith knows that no matter what the situation in our lives or someone else’s life, that Jesus is working on a resolution.

Faith comes by hearing and in particular, hearing the spoken word of God through the Holy Spirit.  It is not a hearing of the mind or intellect, nor does it come from reading or someone else’s speaking.  It comes directly through Jesus as He told us He would speak to us through the Holy Spirit.  This small voice of calm is the basis of faith.  We all need to listen for Her voice.