IKgs.19:9-13) ; Rom9:1-5; Matt.14:22-33
The readings of the day deals with 2 important messages: (1) God’s saving presence among His people and (2) our need for prayer in storms of life .
The readings of the day present before us the stories of the encounter of 3 great persons with God Almighty while they were going through storms and crises of their lives.
In the first reading we see prophet Elijah once defeated and killed 450 priests of Baal, with his full trust in Almighty Yahweh. But he was frightened and fled to Mount Horeb once he lost his trust in God . However he was able to experience the living presence of God in the tiny whispering breeze and showed his adoration.
In the 2nd reading, we see God’s Providence in the life of St. Paul when he was oppressed and opposed by the Jews and that paved the way for him to move to the Gentles and preach the Gospel for them,
In the Gospel passage we see the encounter of Peter and his friends with the Lord Jesus in the midst of life threatening storms and severe darkness in the Sea of Galilee.
“It is I , Don’t be afraid “ are the consoling words of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to Biblical scholars in the Holy Bible the phrase “Don’t be afraid of “ has been used 365 times reminding us every day of the year that He is with us always.
Storms of life are very common to all and it is a universal experience. Some people are afraid of responsibility; some are afraid of the past events; some others are afraid of the future. Similarly people are often threatened by sickness, deaths, failures and tragedies. But if we have trust in Him, nothing will disturb us.
Faith is a risk taking enterprise. Peter takes a risk to follow the Lord by walking on water. But he failed after a few minutes because of his weak faith in the Lord. Instead of looking at the Lord and fully trusting the Lord, he looked at the fierce storms and thought of being drowned. But still Jesus was there to extend his arms to save him provided he turned to him and asked him for help.
Fr Elizabeth Blackwell “walking on the water” meant something entirely different. She was born in England 1821 and her family moved to USA while she was a child. Her ambition in life was to become a doctor in 1940’s. At that time medical schools were only for men. But she had to fight to get admission. Though she got admission, still she had to face a lot of discouragements and discriminations. But she never gave up. In 1849 she graduated at the head of her class. When no hospital would allow her to practice, she opened her own hospital. Then she opened a medical school to train women.
We all need to call Jesus in the storms facing us in the Church and in our lives.
Similarly we need to imitate the short prayer of sinking Peter , “Lord save me for I am going to drown”
XIX Sunday Homily