August 10, 2014 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We think that people who have great faith are somehow immune to the storms of life.
We think that a closer relationship with God will somehow shield us from tumult, danger, trouble or crisis.
But in the first reading, Elijah is a prophet of God, a man of great faith. He is being hunted down like an animal, threatened with death.
He seeks refuge in a cave. He just wants to die.
If the storms of life can batter the apostles and the prophets of God, we cannot think that coming to church will spare us from the storms of family problems, the winds of peer pressure, the earthquakes of sickness and disease, and the fires of anger, jealously, lust or greed.
Pay attention though, in the first reading we are told that the Lord is not in the storm. The Lord is not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire.
The wind that is against the apostles does not hinder the Lord Jesus. Jesus is not affected by the storm, but the apostles are powerless against its power.
It’s the same with us. Our efforts to calm the wind and the waves are ineffective. The storms of life are simply stronger than we thought they would be.
Against these storms of disease, poverty, violence, intolerance, injustice, greed, lust and ignorance we are powerless and afraid.
But not Jesus. Jesus’ courage can replace our fears.
He says, “Come.” It’s an invitation to bring us to where he is.
He’s out walking on water and he says to Peter, “Come. Come out onto the water with me.”
And Peter is brought to where Jesus is. He, too, is walking on the water. But when Peter doubts, he falters. It’s only then that Jesus can reach out and save him, pulling Peter to himself.
If we are courageous, we step out when Jesus calls us. When we step out, sometimes we doubt and falter and fail. It is then that Jesus reaches out his hand to save us.
When he saves he, he pulls us to himself and whispers in our ears, “Oh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?”
In this graced moment, close to the Lord Jesus, we are like Elijah, hiding his face, hearing that tiny whisper.
And we respond, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
If we never step out when Jesus says, “Come,” how can we ever hope to be brought close to him?
If we never doubt and falter and fail, he can’t draw us close to himself to save us. He can’t reach out his hand to catch us because we never accepted the invitation to come in the first place.
And if he never has the opportunity to reach out his hand and pull us to himself, then we would never hear him whisper in our ears, “Oh you of little faith, how could you ever doubt that I love you.”
The storms of life that trouble us have no effect on Jesus. So stepping out when Jesus says, “come,” seems to me to be the best way to make it through the difficult times.
Elijah and Peter and we might be battered by the storm, tossed about by the wind and the waves, but no matter how dark life might be, no matter how high the waves or how rough the sea, Jesus is still able to reach out and save us.