Newsletter- 19th Week of Ordinary Time
Many of us think of God as strong and powerful—and God is that. But God also shows Himself to be weak and poor and powerless. Today’s readings on this the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time show us this strange dichotomy. We see that God who is so powerful can be weak and poor for our sake.
The first reading is from the First Book of Kings and is about the Prophet Elijah—one of the greatest of prophets. There are so many accounts of the strength of this Prophet and yet he relies completely on God. We hear how this Prophet has fled to the holy mountain, Horeb, which is probably the same as Mount Sinai. This mountain is where the 10 commandments were given to Moses. It is a place of encounter between God and His people. When we think about the 10 commandments being given, we think perhaps of thunder and lightning and enormous displays of strength and might. Today, in the same place, God manifests Himself in a tiny, whispering sound.
This is the God who can be all powerful and who can also be insignificant and weak—all because He loves us just as He loved the Prophet Elijah.
The second reading is taken from the Letter to the Romans. Here Saint Paul is telling us how he would willingly give up everything for the sake of the salvation of his own people. We are challenged to give our lives for our own people and for all peoples. How much do we love? How much do we care? Has salvation simply become a private possession for me to have—and to ignore all others. No, this cannot be. We must be like Saint Paul and long for the salvation of all other peoples.
The Gospel from Matthew today is the wonderful account of Jesus walking on the water and then inviting Saint Peter—who said that he wanted this gift—to walk with him. Saint Peter panics and let’s fear get hold of him. And he sinks. “Do not be afraid.” Pope Saint John Paul II often used those words to encourage others. We also must learn not to be afraid. Our faith will let us do amazing things. The most amazing is simply believing. From that faith, that belief, we are given strength for so many other things. The most important is to love and to serve others with all our strength. We must hear the words of Christ echo within us as we love and serve: “Do not be afraid.”
With my prayers for you and for your families during this holiday season,
Your parish priest and friend,
2023 13th August 2023– Newsletter – Download