19th Sunday of Ordinary Time 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. Then the Lord said to him, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord-but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake-but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire-but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
Brothers and sisters: I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Gospel Cycle Cycle A
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. 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. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
What do you do when there are storms in your life? Where do you go? What do you do? Where do you find God?
These questions help us understand the readings today. The first reading, from the First Book of Kings, tells us about the Prophet Elijah and his quest for God. This is not only someone who has recently suffered a lot in his personal life; it is someone who has suffered trying to serve the Lord God.
Most of us who hear homilies or read them are people are trying to serve the Lord. We know that sometimes all we can do is try! There is no way in which we can claim to have given our lives over 100% to God and to His holy will—even though we may have that desire very deep within us. The real test is always when storms come into our lives: what do we do and how do we do it?
Elijah the Prophet had finally to realize that God is always present and that he can listen to God when he is still and quiet. Storms often distract us. Often in storms we are only seeking to find a place of safety, rather than seeing the presence of the living God in what is happening around us.
The disciples in the Gospel from of Saint Matthew which we have heard today do not pay attention to their faith but react only to the human danger around them. Is that not just the same thing that we do all too often? Our hearts don’t just automatically turn to God in every challenging situation. Instead, we must turn our hearts to the Lord.
We can think of Saint Paul in the second reading, especially when he is willing die for his own people. Are we ready to die? Are we ready to give our lives for others?
Today we are invited to learn to be still in every situation, no matter what storms are happening around us. We are invited in that stillness to turn to the Lord and to call on His holy name! We say that we believe in God, so let us practice that belief each day. We practice by living in our daily lives the actions which express the beliefs about which we can talk so easily: love, joy, peace, patience, etc.
Let us give thanks to the God who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. May we all come to know the divine and healing presence of the Lord.