19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

by Fr Odise SDB

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In the first reading (1 Kings 19:9,11-13) the question God put, Why are you here, Elijah? is a reproof. It concerns us often to ask whether we are in our proper place, and in the way of our duty. Am I where I should be right now? Whether God calls me, where does my business lie, and where may I be useful? Did Elijah go there to meet with God? Nevertheless he shall find out that God will meet him. God is ready to meet us even in our ordinary places. The wind, and earthquake, and fire, did not make him cover his face, but the still voice did. Gracious souls are more affected by the tender mercies of the Lord, than by his terrors. Our zeal for the Lord, for his people and his creatures should be manifested with our loving-kindness, because “the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God” (Jas 1:20). The mild voice of Him who speaks from the cross, or the mercy-seat, is accompanied with peculiar power in taking possession of the hearts.

In the second reading (Rm 9:1-5) Saint Paul being about to discuss the temporarily rejection of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles, and to show that the whole agrees with the sovereign electing love of God, he expresses strongly his affection for his people. He solemnly appeals to Christ; and his conscience, enlightened and directed by the Holy Spirit, bore witness to his sincerity. He would submit to be treated as “accursed,” to be disgraced, crucified; and even for a time be in the deepest horror and distress; if he could rescue his nation from the destruction about to come upon them for their obstinate unbelief. Paul was ready and did everything that he could do for the salvation of his people. Now let us ask ourselves, what are we or better, what am I doing for the good of my people, for the good of my neighbours especially now during this pandemic time? Am I checking on my neighbours if they are alive or if they are in need of anything that I can help them to pass this critical time? In case you have not done anything for your neighbour yet, you might be still in time. Saving a life means to save your life too and to glorify God with your deeds. Remember that Jesus said “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least of my brothers, you did it for me” (Mt 25:40).

Gospel (Mt 14:22-33)
Those are not Christ’s followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ’s disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God’s people, form mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to fright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ made Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and also know his Lord’s power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace.

When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ’s disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world’s Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in Him, will have eternal life.

Let us ask God’s grace to increase our faith in him, that we may entrust to him our difficulties, fears, our hopes and our joys. Then it remains to us just to do the best in all that we do and for sure He will do the rest. He will make a way even in them midst of the waters where it seems there is no way, because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

God bless you with abundant life and all that you need.