Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nineteeneth Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2014. A Reflection on the Gospel Reading

1 Kings 19: 9a, 11-13a
Romans 9: 1-5
Matthew 14: 22-33

“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.” (Matt 14)

A long time ago, when I was a very, very young child; my father and uncle took one of my brothers, and I, ocean fishing.  Our craft was a mid-size wooden boat with an outboard engine, which to us looked like a small yacht.  We sailed into the ocean off of Lynn, MA, and fished most of the morning.  Suddenly, a squall came upon us, with heavy rains and wind.  The sea, that had been very calm, now was full of huge waves.  The adults immediately started the engine and steered the boat towards land, my brother and I holding onto a wooden seat near the stern.  Suddenly, the boat hit a wave that launched it into the air, and it landed onto the ocean hard.  It landed so hard, that the stern bench we were sitting on broke, and we wound up in bottom of the boat.  It was the most terrifying experience I had ever had. 

We eventually made it safely to Nahant harbor, and a dock.  My father and uncle had to call my mother and aunt to come fetch us, and to bring the boat trailer.  By the time they got there, the sun was out; the skies were blue, and the ocean serene.

Because of that experience, I can better appreciate the fear that Christ’s disciples must have experienced as they tried to sail their boat through the stormy Sea of Galilee.  I wish I had the courage that St. Peter showed initially, getting out of that boat and attempting to walk on the water towards Jesus.  Though, as we read further in that Gospel account, that courage quickly disappeared when Peter was faced with the wind and the waves. 

However, before we start smirking at Peter’s predicament, let us recall our moments when we may have had “little faith.”  I feel that almost everyday, Jesus Christ is calling all of us to do something wonderful, something spectacular, something that makes us go beyond what we think we are capable of doing, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  Yet, we let the obstacles, the storms that life may throw in our way; cause us to doubt our calling.  However, Jesus is there with us, saying to us:  “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?”  And he will help us through the storms.  He will help us overcome the obstacles.  By his grace, we will receive what we need, not only to live the Gospel, but proclaim it throughout the entire world; to all peoples, and all places.

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