On the Road Together for August 13
August 13, 2017
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
From this weekend's Gospel:
Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’
But when he (Peter) saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord save me!’
Director of RCIA
For many of us, this week marks the beginning of the school year: a time that often brings many mixed emotions. It is a time of transitions. There are beginnings and endings: the end of summer break, a new beginning with fresh opportunities, crazy schedules, perhaps a child going away to school for the first time, new teachers, new classes, old friends and new ones. In the midst of this time of transition, we know how important it is to keep our eyes on the Lord! We need to take the time for reflection and prayer during such times.
Our readings this weekend are full of times of transition as well. In the first reading, Elijah is fleeing for his life. In the midst of his fear and fleeing, he has a moment of encounter with God on Mount Horeb in the least expected of places: a gentle breeze. In our Gospel, both Jesus and the disciples are at points of transition. Two things have just happened, 1) they have just experienced the death of John the Baptist, and 2) the disciples have just witnessed the feeding miracle. The beginning of our Gospel shows Jesus needing some time away, so he leaves the disciples in the boat to go up the mountain to pray.
The Gospel passage is a beloved story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. The disciples in the boat are afraid. Jesus has been gone a long time and the wind is tossing the boat. They are terrified to see a figure walking on the sea. We can also be sure they are trying to process all that has happened: Jesus’ miracles and the news of John’s death. Jesus tells them, “Take courage, it is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter starts walking successfully on the water towards Jesus until he gets distracted by the high wind. Doubt and fear take root, and he begins to sink. He pleads for help, and Jesus immediately reaches out to assist him.
What strikes me in this reading is that Peter gets distracted by the high wind, and it was that very distraction that led him to take his eyes off of Jesus, and hence, start to doubt. Peter does not consciously decide to lose his faith. He gets distracted. And that is what really happens in our faith life! Not very often do we make a strong, conscious decision against the Lord, though that does happen. More often we get distracted by so many other things and then begin to lose sight of the Lord, which allows doubt and sin to creep in. At times we need to reflect on those big moments when we choose against our faith, but I think the readings this weekend encourage us to look at the small ways our distractions chip away at our relationship with Christ. Though Jesus chastises Peter for his little faith, he immediately reaches out to save him!
In this week and month of transition for many of us, let us pray that we hear the words of the Lord and put our trust in him: “Be not afraid. It is I.” Like Elijah, Jesus and the disciples, we, too, in our times of transition need to make time to reflect, process and pray.
Let us be conscious of eliminating those distractions that lead us to little faith,
and strengthen that which helps us
keep our eyes on the Lord!
Readings for Mass, August 12 & 13:
Sent by Beverly Aviles on Friday, August 11 at 1:24PM