My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
These Scripture readings that we just heard in today’s Mass are familiar to all of us. The story of the prophet Elijah on the mountain in the first reading, and our Gospel story of the apostles in the boat with Jesus.
And today we are especially challenged to try to “identify” ourselves with them. We are calling ourselves to put ourselves in Elijah’s shoes and to imagine that we are one of those apostles in the boat with our Lord.
Because I think these readings are meant to teach us about what it means to be a disciple. And obviously the prophet Elijah and the apostles were disciples of God. They had a specific mission that they were faithful to. So the readings are supposed to help us to understand better what it means to be a disciple of God, disciple of Jesus Christ. What it means to follow Jesus in the world, what it means to trust him and to try to do his will.
And when we think about our faith, we almost have to remember that it is a gift. A precious treasure. And awesome gift. It is a gift that God gives us in our Baptism. And this gift of faith gives us a personal relationship with God, with Jesus Christ.
It is a really beautiful gift that we have give thanks to God and see how we can grow in our faith. To have a strong faith. To be men and women of faith.
So our readings today help us to grow in our confidence in God, in our trust in his Providence.
We have to think about our lives as a journey. And this is the image that we have in our Gospel today. Our lives are like a journey across the sea, and we are traveling in the boat — like the apostles, with Jesus. And the “boat” of course is the Church. In the Church, we are a family traveling together, brothers and sisters, followers of Jesus Christ.
And just like the disciples going with Jesus in the boat, and just like the prophet Elijah, sometimes, obviously, we face trials and storms in our journey of discipleship.
Our life includes dozens of situations that are difficult sometimes in our own personal lives. And also when we look at our society we see that there are tragic things happening. We think of the terrible violence in Iraq, we think of the situation in Israel, we can even think closer to our borders, the violence in some of the Central American countries.
But we can never forget that God who calls us to come to him will never leave us alone in our struggles.
This is the lesson that the prophet Elijah and the apostles learn. And this is the lesson we are called to reflect on today.
Our Lord is always passing by. We are always in his presence. But sometimes, my dear brothers and sisters, we have a hard time finding him or recognizing him. And it is sometimes challenging for us to put all our trust in him.
It was difficult for the prophet Elijah to recognize where God was.
He is looking for God in all the “noise” and confusion in the world. The prophet Elijah face a wind that is so strong that it rips through the mountains and shatters the rocks into pieces! And there is an earthquake. And then there is a fire!
But God wants Elijah to know — and he wants us to know —that even in all of this chaos, even when the world seems like it is falling apart, he is still with us.
But we have to listen for God. We have to have faith and confidence that he is true. We have to find the time to listen to him, and pay attention and trust in him.
And especially when we have troubles, when temptations and trials come, we need to have total confidence in God. We will know God’s presence and closeness in our lives, even in those difficult times.
In the Gospel, the apostles are really scared. The storm is powerful and I’m sure that they were thinking that that was the end, that they were dying. Even when they see Jesus on the water — they think he’s a ghost!
And, my brothers and sisters, this can happen to us, too. We can get anxious about our future or worrying about the things in our lives, that we can think that God is not there for us. But he is.
It is true, we all have different “storms” in our lives, different pressures and challenges. But our Gospel today assures us that Jesus is always with us, that he is always ready to give us his hand to help us.
That’s why St. Peter is a beautiful example for all of us today. He calls out to Jesus in faith, and Jesus says to him, Come.
And we are just like Peter. Each of us has faith. We are following Jesus. Jesus has called each one of us and said, “Come.”
And, as we heard today, Peter was fine as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus and kept moving toward him. But the minute he looked away, when he thought about his human limitations and all the storms around him, he began to sink.
Then he cries out: Lord, save me! Then Jesus reached out his hand and caught him and helped him keep walking.
What a beautiful lesson for each one of us, my brothers and sisters!
Jesus Christ is always there when cry out to him. Even when our faith is weak in difficult times, the hand of Christ will be there always to catch us. Let’s never doubt in his mercy!
What a beautiful example. That is the reality of our lives. We are weak, we start saying and trying to follow Jesus Christ and we realize that it is challenging. We have our own struggles and sometimes we fall and doubt, but Jesus is always there.
Let us ask for that grace, especially today, to always trust in him. And reach out to him! Ask him for help, to show us his power and especially to be with us every single moment of our lives.
And as we know, our faith is also a mission. A task that we are given. We are called to share our faith with others. We can imagine how the apostles, after that situation, how they were talking about it to other people. In a simple way, saying, “wow that was really beautiful.” And then at the end, we heard their reaction: “You are really the Son of God.”
That’s our mission too, to share with others that God is with us. That we have that beautiful blessing, that beautiful gift of our faith. That we have the mercy of God and his love for each one of us. That’s our apostolic mission! That’s what we are supposed to share with the people around us!
So this week, let us, first, try to be more trusting in our Lord’s presence and in his love for us. Again, let us ask for that grace of always trusting in the presence and power of God. And let us also try to find a little more quiet time so that we can hear his voice as the prophet Elijah did.
Beautiful to hear in the passage of the Gospel, how Jesus went out to pray. Don’t you think that we all have to find the time to pray? We do. Let’s try to find that especially this week. And then let us also go out, and in a simple way, share with others how beautiful it is: the love of God for each one of us.
And let us ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to help us all of us to grow in our friendship with Jesus and in our desire to love him and to follow him in our lives.
1. Readings (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A): 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a; Ps. 95:9-14; Rom. 9:1-5; Matt. 14:22-23.