HOMILY FOR THE 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A (August 13, 2023). “LORD, COME AND SAVE US!”
1. Jesus walks on the water.
Today’s 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time year A Gospel recounts the episode of Jesus walking on the lake in the midst of the storm. Our Lord wants to remind us again that He never abandons those who put their trust and call on Him.
- Storms are very frequent on Lake Gennesaret; they cause huge waves and are very dangerous to fishing boats.
- During this time Jesus was not physically present with them. He was praying on the hill, but still He was mindful of his disciples; he sees them trying to cope with the wind and the waves and comes to their rescue once he has finished praying.
This episode has a very important application to our Christian life. The Church, like the Apostles’ boat, and each one of us, also encounters difficulties, but we must always be convinced that Jesus watches over us, is always with us, and comes to our rescue as well, after allowing us to wrestle with the obstacles and be strengthened in the process.
He encourages us: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear” (14:27); and we show our faith and fidelity by striving to keep an even keel, and by calling on his aid when we feel ourselves weakening: “Lord, save me” (14:30), words of St Peter which we should use to have recourse to Jesus. Then our Lord does save us, and we urgently confess our faith: “Truly you are the Son of God” (14:33).
- St John Chrysostom comments that in this episode Jesus taught Peter to realize from his own experience that all his strength came from our Lord and that he could not rely on his own resources, on his own weakness and wretchedness.
- Chrysostom goes as far as to say that “if we fail to play our part, God ceases to help us”.Hence the reproach, ‘O man of little faith” (14:3 1). When Peter began to be afraid and to doubt, he started to sink, until again, full of faith, he called out, “Lord, save me”.
If at any time we, like Peter, should begin to weaken IN THE MIDST OF LIFE’S ADVERSITIES, we too should bring our faith into play and pray.
2. Faith in the midst of adversities.
It is precisely during turbulent times that our faith is tested. We could either exercise our faith by calling on and clinging to God, or fall into incredulity and despair.
- To believe that God never abandons us or not is life-changer. Besides, let us not forget that only by Faith do we get to see the real picture of reality. It is our “eyeglasses” which corrects our myopic vision of our surroundings, our circumstances, and of the world. We get to discern in a certain degree our situation through God’s perspective.
In his homily, Living by Faith, St. Josemaría wrote:
“We must have complete faith in the one who saves us, in this divine Doctor who was sent with the express purpose of curing us, and the more serious or hopeless our illness is the stronger our faith has to be.
We must learn to acquire the divine measure of things, never losing our supernatural outlook, and realising that Jesus makes use also of our weaknesses to reveal his glory. So, whenever your conscience feels the stirrings of self-love, of weariness, of discouragement, or the weight of your passions, you must react immediately and listen to the Master, without letting the sad truth about our lives frighten us, because as long as we live our personal failings will always be with us.
This is the way we Christians must travel. We have to cry out ceaselessly with a strong and humble faith, ‘Lord, put not your trust in me. But I, I put my trust in you.’ Then, as we sense in our hearts the love, the compassion, the tenderness of Christ’s gaze upon us, for he never abandons us, we shall come to understand the full meaning of those words of St Paul, virtus in infirmitate perficitur. If we have faith in Our Lord, in spite of our failings or, rather, with our failings — we shall be faithful to our Father, God; his divine power will shine forth in us, sustaining us in our weakness.”
If we live by Faith, we will be convinced that “all things work unto the good of those who love God (Rm 8: 28),” or “omnia in bonum” as St. Josemaria abbreviates the Pauline passage. We will then live our lives with serenity, optimism and joy, and this even in the midst of the most difficult problems we may encounter.
Lord, COME AND SAVE US. In You we trust, for you are truly the Son of God come to our aid as many of your children are drowning in suffering and grief during difficult moments of our life.Only in You could we find our strength to keep ourselves afloat during this tempest. Have mercy on us and hear our prayers so that when we experience that sinking feeling, “when our fears become tears, with prayer, with you Lord, our fears and tears become cheers.”
A Blessed Sunday and week ahead!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
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