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CONGREGATIO PRO CLERICIS : Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

August 8, 2011


(1 Kings 19:9-11; Rm 9:1-5; Mt 14:22-23)

After the miracle of the loaves and the fishes that fed the crowd, Jesus invites us, his disciples, to verify our faith in every journey in which we are called to turn our sights on Him and trust ourselves to Him, the Saviour that responds to the cry of men.

In the context of the Gospel narrative there is a stark contrast between the quiet that Jesus lives during His prayer on the mountain and the scenario in the lake where the disciples are navigating against a strong headwind that endangers their crossing.  A strong headwind, the sign of an apparent end, that arouses fear in the disciples’ hearts.  A fear that makes their crossing dramatic and tragic with the turbulent waters, the figure of Jesus mistaken for a ghost, Peter’s fear of drowning whilst walking on the water towards his Lord.

In the dark nights, we are called to take an anxious journey with the courage of faith, tested in doubts and falls, from fear towards peaceful prayer, a journey that takes place and so we experience salvation.

Peter is the figure of every man, in that when our gaze is fixed on Christ and we have an obedient abandoning faith, then in confidence it is possible to move ahead.  On the other hand, when we look towards our limitations and difficulties, in the presumption of self-sufficiency, then fear prevails and can drown us.

It is in faith that we must be certain that the Lord is close, is present, is with us and repeats to us, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ (Mt 14:27)  These words from Jesus should be enough to pace our journey through life with decisiveness and certainty.  However, Peter’s fear, like ours, becomes a doubt, ‘Lord, if it is you…’.  The condition that God’s invite rests on, is that He transforms the occasions of doubt and strengthening into faith, ‘Come’.

What saved Peter and every man along with him?  It wasn’t in the spasmodic search for human certainty, or in self-confidence incapable to bear the impact of the world and its waves but the cry to Christ, ‘Lord, save me’!

It is to the cry of prayer that the saving power of God responds.  Man’s resourcefulness isn’t sufficient to go to meet the Lord, the fear drowns man, the illusion of having everything in his own hands makes him miserably fall, only the humility of faith can save and, in reality, does save us!

In the hand that saves us, the journey from turmoil to a courageous faith makes the strong headwind fruitful.  It is life experience that makes us recognise He who reveals Himself to us, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God’.  The salvation that Christ grants us is the only certainty which enables us to continue to believe even if we experience moments of turmoil in our lives.  We recognise that, like the disciples, He is the Lord who created everything and guarantees us the victory against evil.   ‘Jesus Christ has a significance and a value for the human race and its history, which are unique and singular, proper to him alone, exclusive, universal, and absolute. Jesus is, in fact, the Word of God made man for the salvation of all.’(Declaration Dominus Iesus n.15)

In this time which is for many a time of quiet and rest from our daily toil, we ask the Lord for a heart that is capable of an authentic trust in Him, able to recognise Him and follow Him because He is the Truth of our lives.  In the celebration of the sacraments we meet the salvation of God for us.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, woman of faith and of total, confident abandonment obtain for us, ‘a simple heart that does not remain absorbed in its own sadness; a loving heart that freely gives with compassion; a faithful and generous heart that neither forgets good nor feels bitterness for any evil.

(Prayer of Father de Grandmaison)

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