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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 19th (A) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 19:9a.11-13a): At the mountain of God, Horeb,Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. Then the Lord said to him, «Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord». A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
Responsorial Psalm: 84
R/. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord —for he proclaims peace. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.

Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.

The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and prepare the way of his steps.
2nd Reading (Rom 9:1-5): Brothers and sisters: I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 129,5): Alleluia. I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for his word. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 14,22-33): After He had fed the people, Jesus obliged his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowd away. And having sent the people away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. At nightfall, He was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves for the wind was against it.

At daybreak, Jesus came to them walking on the lake. When they saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear. But at once Jesus said to them, «Courage! Don't be afraid. It's me!». Peter answered, «Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you walking on the water». Jesus said to him, «Come». And Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to go to Jesus. But, in face of the strong wind, he was afraid and began to sink. So he cried out, «Lord, save me!». Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and took hold of him, saying, «Man of little faith, why did you doubt?». As they got into the boat, the wind dropped. Then those in the boat bowed down before Jesus saying, «Truly, you are the Son of God!».

«He began to sink. So he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’»

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Peter's experience reflects situations that, more often than not, we also eventually undergo. Who has never, ever felt, at least once, that the world was crumbling around and then decided to let it all go and surrender to despair? Under these circumstances we must revive our faith and exclaim along with the psalmist: «Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation» (Psl 85:7).

For the ancient mentality, the sea was where the evil forces dwelt, the kingdom of death, threatening for all men. By “walking on the water” (cf. Mt 14:25), Jesus is telling us that through his death and resurrection He defeats the evil and death powers that threat and want to destroy us. Is it not our existence like a fragile boat, delivered to the stormy waves of the sea of life with the hope of reaching some meaningful waterside?

Peter believed to have a clear faith and a rather consistent strength, but «he began to sink» (Mt 14:30); Peter had assured Jesus he was willing to follow him till death, but his own weakness frightened him and, in the feats of Passion, he denied his Master thrice. Why does Peter sink just when he starts walking on the water? Because, instead of looking at Jesus’ face, he looks at the sea and, as of that moment, he loses his strength, his confidence in the Lord. and he just breaks down. But «Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him» (Mt 14:31) and He saved him.

After His resurrection, the Lord does not let his apostle to sink in remorse and despair, and with His generous forgiveness He restores his confidence. In the battle of life, whom do I look at the most? When I feel the weight of my sins and mistakes dragging me down, sinking me, do I allow the good Lord to stretch out His hand and save me?