Homily Nineteenth Sunday Year A Act on word of God

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Homily: Nineteenth Sunday Year A

 Reading 1:  Elijah, the only living prophet in Israel, confronted the false prophets of Baal with the truth that the God he worshipped was the only true God.  Elijah had these false prophets killed. Queen Jezebel, who followed the worship of Baal was furious and sought to kill Elijah. So the prophet fled to the desert.

 But God had other plans for him. He provided food and drink for Elijah in the desert as he journeyed to the Mountain of God, Horeb.  It was on this mountain that God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses.  Again, God revealed his plan to Elijah.  In that tiny whispering sound, Elijah recognized the presence of God. God directed him go and anoint two kings and his successor, Elisha, as a prophet. This was a defining moment in the prophet’s life.

 What lesson do we take from this word of God? Sometimes we look for God in the signs and wonders of life but fail to recognize him in the stillness of silence—that inner whispering voice ministering to us. What does it take to be attune to this way of God to us? Elijah was a prophet of God in relationship with God. Elijah was obedient to God, even when he suffered at the hands of others for the name of God. It takes discipline to be attentive to the Lord, to discern what is of the Lord and what is not.

Many voices, sounds and events can distract us.  In the midst of these, we must learn to hear the voice of God, like a tiny whispering sound and to act on his message.

 Gospel: Jesus has just fed the 5,000 with a few loaves and fish. He then went up the mountain to pray, to give thanks to the Father and to be opened to what the Father wanted him to do. He had sent the disciples by boat to the other side of the lake. They got caught up in a storm and were struggling to keep afloat.

 In his compassion for them he walked on water to rescue them. In the midst of their fear, his first assuring words were: “Take courage. Fear not. It is I.” Not really sure it was Jesus, Peter made a bold statement. “If it is you, let me come to you on the water.” Jesus’ response: “Come.” Probably with some hesitation Peter responded by stepping over the side of the boat toward Jesus over the waters. This took courage and faith to respond to the invitation of Jesus.

Why did he begin to sink? He took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on himself. He can’t be walking on water; this is humanly impossible. He is a sinner, unworthy. He has much shame and guilt. He began to sink. What was the saving grace that prevented him from being engulfed in the waters of despair and emptiness? He cried out to the Lord in his awareness of his own weakness. Jesus readily embraced him. His faith in Jesus was still not strong enough to totally surrender himself into the arms of Jesus. He let his own inadequacies come in between him and Jesus. Jesus did not reject Peter for his lace of faith and love, merely challenged him.

Often God invites us out of our comfort zone to step out in faith, doing that which is humanly impossible. How strong is our faith? What are the sins and addictions which distract us and cause us to be frightened? Where are we afraid to surrender totally in the arms of Jesus, no matter our past? What was impossible for Peter on his own, namely, walking on water was possible as long as Peer placed his gaze on the Lord.

Reading 2: This faith relationship with God on Paul’s part brought him to a point where he recognized what God had done through the chosen people. The greatest gift of God was the coming of the Christ, God becoming man. Because of his faith, Paul was willing to sacrifice his life that the Israelites may be saved.

At the same time there is a deep sorrow in Paul. Though the people were chosen by God, who revealed himself to them, who entered into covenant with them, blessed them with the Law, the prophets and the promise, they rejected the Messiah when he came.

Even so, Paul’s love and zeal for his people was such that he was willing to sacrifice himself for them. He was willing to be separated from God if only the chosen people would turn their hearts back to God.

Do you love your spouse and your children that much that for their salvation you would be willing to sacrifice yourself?

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