Posts Tagged ‘rom 9:1-5’

Prayer and Meditation for Friday, November 3, 2017 — Jesus is called upon to Heal

November 2, 2017

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 483

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Reading 1 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 children of Israel;
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.

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Alleluia JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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Gospel LK 14:1-6

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.
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Commentary on Luke 14:1-6 From Living Space

Today we enter a series of four teachings from Jesus, all connected with meals.

It begins with another example of a confrontation between Jesus and some religious leaders on a sabbath. Altogether there are seven sabbath healings recorded in the gospels, of which Luke mentions five. The other two are in John – the healing of the paralysed man at the Sheep Gate (5:10ff) and the healing of the man born blind (9:14ff).

Jesus had apparently been invited to have a meal in a Pharisee’s house on a sabbath day.

We have mentioned before that the word ‘Pharisee’ means ‘separated one’. They numbered about 6,000 and were found all over Palestine. They taught in synagogues, saw themselves as religious paragons and were self-appointed guardians of the Law and its observance. They regarded their interpretations of traditions to be virtually as authoritative as Scripture (cf. Mark 7:8-13). The Scribes studied, interpreted and taught the Law, both written and oral. Most of them were also Pharisees and hence they are often paired in the Gospel.

It certainly looks as if the invitation was what is known as a ‘set up’ because, we are told, “they observed him closely”. And there (what a coincidence!) right in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy, an accumulation of fluid in the body caused by some other illness. (This is the only place in the original Greek of the New Testament where the term Luke uses for this sickness is found.)

Far from being put on the defensive, Jesus immediately throws down a challenge: “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” Strictly speaking, according to the letter of the Law as interpreted by the scribes and Pharisees present, it was not lawful. Because “curing” involved “medical work” and it could take time and energy. By asking them his question before the healing, Jesus made it difficult for them to protest afterwards.

And in fact they dared not give him an answer. To say ‘Yes’ could make them seem lax in their interpretation; to say ‘No’ would seem cruel to the man. So Jesus took the man, healed him on the spot and sent him off.

He then turns to his critics with another question: “If one of you has a son or an ox and he falls into a pit, will he not immediately rescue him on the sabbath day?” They had no answer because no answer was necessary or possible. What Jesus had done was unlawful only according to rabbinic interpretations but not according to the Mosaic Law itself.

Their mindset was revealed and it was not the mindset of Jesus. For them people came second to legalities. For Jesus the law was for people. Jesus was moved by compassion and the well-being of people. Sometimes that meant the law had to be put aside – a principle which they also recognised as proved by the examples that Jesus gave.

How many times have we become the victims of human respect? How often have we failed to go to the help of a person because we were afraid of what people might say or how they might judge us? They may even throw Church ‘rules’ and ‘commandments’ in our face as criticism. But no one who acts out of genuine love for others can go far wrong. No truly loving act can be sinful.

http://livingspace.sacredspace.ie/o2306g/

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31 Individual Healings of Jesus Christ

 

Act of kindness: Pope Francis (left) comforts a man covered in boils in Saint Peter's Square at the end of his General Audience in Vatican City

Pope Francis (left) comforts a man  covered in boils in Saint Peter’s Square at the end of his General Audience in  Vatican City, Wednesday, November 6, 2013

See:

http://stronginfaith.org/article.php?page=111

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“Do you want to be well?”

The Paralyzed Man at the Sheep Gate
(John 5:1-30)

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Jesus and the disciples with the Paralyzed Man at the Sheep Gate

John is the only gospel writer who gives us any real indication about the length of Jesus’ ministry. John tells us about two times, at least, that Jesus and the disciples attended the annual Passover Festival in Jerusalem.

Read about Jesus’ encounter with the paralyzed man He met as He entered the city.

For the five major Festivals celebrated in Jerusalem, most devout Jews made a pilgrimage to the city. With a traveling party as big as Jesus’, they would have to arrive early to find a big enough place to sleep, so they made sure they were in the city early.

During the day on Friday, He and His traveling party had stopped and stayed in a community just outside Jerusalem so they didn’t have to walk far on Saturday morning. (There was a religious law that said you couldn’t walk more than 2,000 cubits (0.596 miles) in an unpopulated area on the Sabbath.) Consequently, they arrived at one of the southern walls of the city. For them, they came in Jerusalem’s back door.

For all of the attention Jesus gave to keeping the letter of the Sabbath law on that day, it still didn’t go so well.
There was a wading pool next to the southern gate. Travelers used the pool to rinse their feet from the dusty road. This particular pool seemed to have some amazing powers. When no one was in the pool and the wind blew just right through the five openings of the gate, the surface of the pool rippled. Tradition said that the first person who entered the pool when it did that would be cured from whatever illness they had.

Art: Jesus and the disciples with the Paralyzed Man at the Sheep Gate

For some reason, Jesus paid particular attention to a man who had been paralyzed for the last 38 years. The man was lying next to the pool, gazing (or staring) at it intently.

Jesus asked the man a simple question, “Do you want to be well?”

The Jewish leaders and everyone around the pool thought that the man was an invalid. He had been lying at the pool for 38 years. The man, himself, hadn’t even tried to get into the pool for decades. He had been content to lie there and accept the charity of passersby for a LONG time.

I have no doubt that there was a time when the man WAS paralyzed, but when Jesus met him, he was already physically ABLE to walk. Only his spirit remained paralyzed.

Therefore, Jesus’ question was remarkably poignant.

The man answered Jesus with the same excuse he had given for decades, “No one will help me.”

Jesus decided to give the man the courage he needed to carry on with his life. He told the man to pick up his mat and walk away from the pool.

The trouble with that was that it was the Sabbath. Picking up his mat was work. Performing healing arts was also work. Both the man and Jesus just broke the rules.

Never mind that the man had been “healed” long before that Saturday morning. Never mind that the man had honored God on the Sabbath by mustering the courage to transform his life into being the happy, productive person God intended him to be. The Jewish leaders didn’t care about any of that. For them, religion was all about making sure that other people followed the rules and stayed in their assigned places in society.

This story has at least two lessons for us.

  1. Do you want to be well?
  2. God wants you to be well and wants you to live a happy, productive life – no matter what has happened in your life before now and no matter what day of the week it is or what anyone else says.

http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/LessonsFromStJohnStudy/04TheParalyzedMan.php

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The high priest Eliashib with his brethren, and priests built the Sheep Gate and set up its doors. This is first gate mentioned. The spiritual meaning of the Sheep Gate is that the high priest was building it and that through the Sheep Gate lambs and sheep were brought to the temple, in which they were offered. The Lord and the Messiah (Christ) Jesus (Yeshua) is the High Priest of New Covenant, who is the Lamb, who was offered for the sake of our sins. Spiritual meaning of Sheep Gate is death and offering the Lamb (the Lord Jesus), which death, blood and resurrection bring us forgiveness of sins and redemption. The high priest was setting up the doors of the Sheep Gate, which means that He is the Door of the sheep. Through the Lord Jesus a man will be saved from the power of death-, sin and eternal damnation to eternal life.

Read More About The Gates:

http://www.kotipetripaavola.com/Jerusalemgatesspiritualmeaning.html

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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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3 NOVEMBER, 2017, Friday, 30th Week, Ordinary Time
SINCERE CORRECTION OF OTHERS

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ Rm 9:1-5Ps 147:12-1519-20Lk 14:1-6 ]

As we read today’s gospel, we can easily identify with the Pharisees in the way they hawked Jesus; waiting to catch Him breaking the laws.  “Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely.”   Their real intention was to catch Jesus committing some sins so that they could discredit Him.  They were watching Jesus so intently that they were oblivious to one of their fellowmen suffering in his body.   In front of them all, “was a man with dropsy”, but that was not their focus.  They were too consumed with finding fault with Jesus.

We too are like that, fault-finding and judgmental.  Living in a community, whether at home, in the church or in a Catholic office where everyone is supposed to live the gospel life, it is not uncommon to find people judging each other, hawking one another to see where others have failed, instead of what good they are doing.  When they make a misstep or do something wrong, we delight in pointing it out and exposing them to the whole world.  Even better if the mistakes are those committed by our bosses and superiors!  We would watch gleefully when they are put down.

Such negative attitudes imply two things.  Firstly, it implies that we think we are perfect; that we are above making mistakes.   We think we are better than others; impeccable, always righteous and upright.  Such an attitude smacks of deep pride.  We are unaware of ourselves.  It shows that we are presumptuous and have a big ego.

Secondly, it could be an indication of our own insecurity and inferiority.  The fact that we take joy in pointing out the failures and weaknesses of others means that our intentions are not motivated by the desire to help them grow, but so that we can feel superior to them.  By humiliating them, we hope to raise ourselves up.  In other words, we need others to be worse than us so that we can feel better.   When we desire others to fail so that we can succeed or feel good about ourselves, it is a sign of envy and jealousy that springs from a low self-esteem.

What kind of attitude does Jesus invite us to cultivate?  We need to cultivate true empathy for our fellowmen.   If we really want to help others, we must learn to feel with them in their humanity, their struggles, their fears and anxieties. To feel with others presupposes that we are honest and true with ourselves.   Self-awareness is the pre-requisite to humility. Without a proper estimation of ourselves, recognizing both our weaknesses and our strengths, we will not be able to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  (Rom 12:15)  When we notice the faults of others, we must ask ourselves whether we also break them at times.  Given the circumstances, we might not fare better than them.  If we cannot observe the laws ourselves, how can we condemn others who fail?

Secondly, we must correct out of love, as St Paul showed us.   Fraternal correction must not be done out of anger or spite.  Indeed, we can be sure that we are sincere in helping others only when we feel for and with them.  That was the attitude of St Paul towards his fellow Jews who rejected the gospel.  He did not condemn them for failing to accept Christ.  In fact, he spoke from his heart about his deep sadness for them, which made him even willing to do anything to help them come to the fullness of the truth.  Until we feel this way for our errant brothers, we have no right to judge them, nor even attempt to correct them, because even if we do, it would be to feed our own pride and glory than for the sake of our brothers.

Thirdly, we must be willing to do anything for their good and not ours.  Our desire to corrrect must be for their salvation and for their well being.  We do not correct a person to protect our interests.  Many of us do just that. When we try to change others, it is not so much for their sake but for ours.  We have an ulterior motive of wanting them to change, not so much for their happiness but for ours.   Our motive is not pure but tainted with selfishness.  In the case of St Paul, he made it clear that he was devoid of self-interests.  He said, “What I want to say now is no pretence; I say it in union with Christ – it is the truth – my conscience in union with the Holy Spirit assures me of it too.  What I want to say is this: my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood.”  Jesus too, was willing to risk His life by entering the house of the Pharisees, knowing that they had the intention to harm Him.  But He entered the lion’s den without fear because of His unconditional love even for His enemies.

Fourthly, to help others, we must develop a sense of proportion in judgment.  Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it against the law to cure a man on the Sabbath, or not?”  To help them to make a proper judgement, He asked further, “Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?”  In asking the Pharisees and the bystanders whether they would rescue their son or an ox that fell into the ditch on the Sabbath, Jesus is asking us not to judge things and situations too legalistically.   We must take into account the situation.  Morality is not only concerned with the objective dimension but the subjective aspects as well.  We are not merely dealing with objects without feelings but people who have emotions and will.  Thus, judging others at face value may not be that accurate after all, because often we do not know the circumstances and the reasons for the behaviour or the actions of the person.

When we put the person first, we use the judgement of love, not of cold rules.  In truth, we know deep in our hearts what is right and wrong.  This explains why when questioned by Jesus, the people remained silent and were unable to respond to Him.  The answer is clear.  No logical reasoning is necessary as to why we cannot cure someone on the Sabbath when he or she is suffering, especially if that person is not just a digit or a case but yourself or your loved one.   When it is a question of love, all rules can be broken.  “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”  (Rom 13:8)

Fifthly, we must appeal to the heart, not so much the head, in seeking to correct our fellowmen.  If we speak to the head, then we will find all reasons to justify ourselves.  Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the mind and try the heart, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.’”  (Jer 17:9f)  Hence, St Paul appealed to their hearts.  “They were adopted as sons, they were given the glory and the covenants; the Law and the ritual were drawn up for them, and the promises were made to them.  They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all.”

Indeed, God had blessed the Jews greatly.  They were the chosen people of God, adopted as sons, given the laws, the covenant and from them came the Messiah.  Alas, they did not understand the treasure that they were holding on behalf of the human race.  Instead of allowing the plan of God to unfold and so embrace every man and woman, they kept the graces of God for themselves.   This is the tragedy of the Jews, for seeking to be exclusive and not embracing the rest of humanity.  We too have been blessed richly.  “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.”  (2 Cor 4:7)  Indeed, we must be responsible for the graces we have received.  If we reach out to others it is because of the blessings we have been given.   With the psalmist we sing, “Zion, praise your God! He has strengthened the bars of your gates, he has blessed the children within you. He established peace on your borders, he feeds you with finest wheat. He makes his word known to Jacob, to Israel his laws and decrees. He has not dealt thus with other nations; he has not taught them his decrees.”

Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore 

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Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, August 13, 2017 — Stretch but don’t Break! — Do not be afraid….

August 12, 2017

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 115

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Elijah’s offering is consumed by fire from heaven in a stained glass window at St. Matthew’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina

Reading 1  1 KGS 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;
the LORD will be passing by.”
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  PS 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (8) 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.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
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.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 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.

Alleluia CF. PS 130:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I wait for the Lord;
my soul waits for his word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 14:22-33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

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Reflection From The Abbot in the Desert

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Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

Many of us think of God and strong and powerful—and God is that.  But God also shows Himself to be weak and poor and powerless.  Today’s readings show us this God who is so powerful that He can be weak and poor for our sake.

The first reading is from the First Book of Kings and is about the Prophet Elijah—one of the greatest of prophets.  There are so many accounts of the strength of this Prophet and yet he relies completely on God.  Today this Prophet has fled to the holy mountain, Horeb, which is probably the same as Mount Sinai.  This mountain is where the 10 commandments were given to Moses.  It is a place of encounter between God and His people.

When we think of the 10 commandments being given, we think of thunder and lightning and enormous displays of strength and might.  Today, in the same place, God manifests Himself in a tiny, whispering sound.  This is the God who can be all powerful and also be insignificant and weak—all because He loves us just as He loved the Prophet Elijah.

The second reading is from the Letter to the Romans.  Here Saint Paul is telling us how he would willingly give up everything for the sake of the salvation of his own people.  We are given powerful words:  “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.”

We are challenged to give our lives for our own people and for all peoples.  How much do we love?  How much do we care?  Has salvation become simply a private possession for me to have—and to ignore all others.  No, this cannot be.  We must be like Saint Paul and long for the salvation of all other peoples.

The Gospel from Matthew today is the wonderful account of Jesus walking on the water and then inviting Saint Peter—who said that he wanted this gift—so walk with him.  Saint Peter panics and lets fear get hold of him.  And he sinks.  “Do not be afraid.”  Pope Saint John Paul II often used those words to encourage others.  We also must learn not to be afraid.  Our faith will let us do amazing things.  The most amazing is simply believing.  From that faith, that belief, we are given strength for so many other things.  The most important is to love and to serve others with all our strength.  We must hear the words of Christ echo within us as we love and serve:  Do not be afraid.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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Lectio Divina from the Carmelites

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Some questions:

In moments of darkness and interior storms, how do I react? How are the presence and absence of the Lord integrated in me? What place does personal prayer and dialogue with God have in me?
What do we ask the Lord in a dark night? A miracle, that he frees us from this? A greater faith? In which attitudes am I similar to Peter?

Meditatio

Brief commentary

22. And at once he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side while he sent the crowds away.
The multiplication of the loaves (14, 13-21) could have generated in the disciples triumphant expectations concerning the Kingdom of God. Therefore, Jesus orders them at once to get away. He ‘obliged’, usually a verb of strong significance. The people acclaim Jesus as a Prophet (Jn 6, 14-15) and wish to make him a political ruler. The disciples are easily drawn by this (Mk 6, 52; Mt 16, 5-12), there is the risk of allowing themselves to be drawn by the enthusiasm of the people. The disciples have to abandon this situation.

23. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came he was there alone. 
Jesus finds himself in front a situation in which the Galilean crowd becomes enthusiastic because of the miracle and runs the risk of not understanding His mission. In this very important moment, Jesus withdraws alone in prayer, as in Gethsemane (Mt 26, 36-46).

24. While the boat, by now some furlongs from land, was hard pressed by rough waves, for there was a head-wind.
This verse where the boat is noticed, without Jesus, in danger, can be close to verse 32 where the danger ceases when Jesus and Peter get into the boat.

25. In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea. 
Jesus appears to his disciples in an extraordinary way. He transcends the human limitations, he has authority on creation. He acts as God alone can do it (Job 9, 8; 38, 16).

26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’, they said, and cried out in fear. 
The disciples were struggling with the contrary wind, they had lived a very impressing day and now a sleepless night. At night (between three and six), in the middle of the sea, they were really terrified in seeing one coming towards them. They did not think in the possibility that it could be Jesus. Their vision is too human , and they believe in ghosts (Lk 24, 37). The Risen Lord though, has overcome the force of chaos represented by the waves of the sea.

27. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying. ‘Courage! It is me! Do not be afraid!. 
The presence of Jesus drives away all fear (9, 2.22). In saying “It is me” he evokes his identity (Es 3, 14) and manifests the power of God (Mk 14, 62; Lk 24, 39; Jn 8, 58; 18, 5-6). Fear is overcome by faith.

28. It was Peter who answered: ‘Lord, he said, ‘If it is you, tell me to come to you across the water’. 
Peter seems to want still another confirmation of the presence of Jesus. He asks for a sign.

29. Jesus said, ‘Come’. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water. 
Nevertheless, Peter is ready to run the risk, getting out of the boat and trying to walk on the agitated waves, in the midst of a strong wind (v. 24). He faces the risk of believing in the Word: ‘Come’.

30. But then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink: ‘Lord’, he cried, ‘save me!’ 
Perseverance is also necessary in the choice of faith. The contrary forces (the wind) are so many, that there is the risk of sinking. The prayer of petition saves him..

31. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘You have so little faith, he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ 
Peter is not left alone in his weakness. In the storms of Christian life we are not alone. God does not abandon us even if apparently is absent and does nothing.

32. And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. 
As soon as Jesus got in the boat the forces of evil cease. The force of hell shall not prevail over it.

33. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said: ¡Truly, you are the Son of God.’ 
Now comes that profession of faith which had been prepared in the preceding episode of the multiplication of the loaves, purified by the experience of getting away from the Bread of eternal life (Jn 6, 1-14). Now Peter can also confirm his brothers in faith, after the trial.

5. For those who wish to go deeper into the text

Jesus, man of prayer

Jesus prays in solitude and at night (Mt 14, 23; Mk 1, 35; Lk 5, 16), during the time of meals (Mt 14, 19; 15, 36; 26, 26-27). On the occasion of important events: for Baptism (Lk 3, 21), before choosing the twelve (Lk 6, 12), before teaching how to pray (Lk 11, 1; Mt 6, 5); before the confession of Caesarea (Lk 9, 18); in the Transfiguration (Lk 9, 28-29), in Gethsemane (Mt 26, 36-44); on the Cross (Mt 27, 46; Lk 23, 46). He prays for his executioners (Lk 23, 34); for Peter (Lk 22, 32), for his disciples and for those who will follow him (Jn 17, 9-24). He also prays for himself (Mt 26, 39; Jn 17, 1-5; Heb 5, 7). He teaches to pray (Mt 6, 5), He manifests a permanent relationship with the Father (Mt 11, 25-27), sure that He never leaves him alone (Jn 8, 29), and always hears him (Jn 11, 22.42; Mt 26, 53). He has promised (Jn 14, 16) to continue to intercede in heaven (Rm 8, 34; Heb 7, 25; I Jn 2, 1).

6. Oratio: Psalm 33

I will praise Yahweh from my heart;
let the humble hear and rejoice.

Proclaim with me the greatness of Yahweh,
let us acclaim his name together.

I seek Yahweh and he answers me,
frees me from all my fears.

Fix your gaze on Yahweh and your face will grow bright,
you will never hang your head in shame.

A pauper calls out and Yahweh hears,
saves him from all his troubles.

The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear him,
and rescues them.

Taste and see that Yahweh is good.
How blessed are those who take refuge in him.

Fear Yahweh, you his holy ones;
those who fear him lack for nothing.

Contemplatio

Lord Jesus, sometimes we are full of enthusiasm and forget that You are the source of our joy: In the moments of sadness we do not seek you or we want your miraculous intervention. Now we know that you never abandon us, that we should not fear. Prayer is also our force. Increase our faith, we are ready to risk our life for your Kingdom.

http://www.ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-19th-sunday-ordinary-time

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Image result for rope, frayed, about to break, photos

Stay Focused!

 / 05:04 AM August 13, 2017
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The story is told about a monastery on a cliff that could only be reached via a suspended basket that was pulled upward by the monks. A tourist who was in this scary ride noticed that the rope was old and worn-out. In a trembling voice he asked the monk who was riding with him how often the rope was changed. The monk thought for a moment, and then said: “Whenever it breaks.”

In today’s gospel (Mt. 14, 23-33), the disciples are in a very scary ride on their boat that is being tossed about by the waves. But what terrifies them more is seeing a “ghost” walking on the water toward them. What scares them is something they cannot control, and someone they do not know. We, too, are scared by the uncontrollable and the unknown. What can make us overcome our fears? It is our faith, our focus on something or someone greater than ourselves that helps us stay afloat and move on.

What made Peter sink? As long as he was focused on his Master, he was all right. When he took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on his surroundings, he started to sink. Our daily news is filled with stories of people who have become so focused on money, power, fame, and worldly pleasures, and  who sooner or later sink in shame, and into oblivion. Stay focused on the Master!

I wonder what the other disciples thought when Peter made the bold request that he be allowed to walk on the water? Perhaps some of them were inspired by his courage, or were critical of his nerve. Like them, often we encourage (“Wow! What courage!”) or criticize (“The nerve of this guy!”) those who do what we do not do, or dare not do.

Of course, we also ask what moved Peter to request his Master to let him walk on the water. Was it sincere faith? Was it pride? In the same manner, we, too, must always examine ourselves why we do the things we do. God sees the heart. It is only in quiet prayer that we, too, can really see what is in our hearts.

Are you a “sinker” or a “floater”? A sinker is one who tends to go down, while a floater is one who tends to stay afloat. But a sinker can also be a person who sinks or pulls down others, and a floater can be one who keeps other people afloat. Sinkers are good in criticizing. Floaters are good in encouraging.

It was such an encouraging and inspiring event to join the Priests’ Day sponsored by St. Bridget School of Batangas City last Aug. 7. According to Fr. Nonie Dolor, this worthy tradition was started in 1981 to help students and priests get to know and help each other. On behalf of my brother priests, and on behalf of Jesus Christ, our Eternal High Priest, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your prayers, support, and understanding.

On the lighter side, I think we finally found the answer to the puzzling question: Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? San Jose, Batangas, is known as the poultry and egg capital of the Philippines. If you approach it via the old highway from Lipa to Batangas City, you will see a big egg landmark on the left side of the road. But if you are coming from Batangas City to Lipa, you will see a big chicken landmark on the right side of the road. So, it all really depends on where you are coming from.

Think about this: “Learn to give all to God — your health, your family, your friends, your work, your worries, your fears, your finances, your hopes, your frustrations, your dreams, your weaknesses, and sins. When you learn to let go, you learn to be empty, and when you are empty, you can be replenished and be refilled aplenty.”

Inviting you to join a pilgrimage to Catholic shrines in Japan on Sept. 14-23. We start in Nagasaki, where the atomic bomb was dropped in World War II, and where many Christians were persecuted. The highlight of the trip will be a visit to Akita, where the Blessed Mother has been manifesting her messages and miraculous healing since 1973. Included also is a visit to different churches and shrines in Tokyo. For inquiries, please contact Executive Resources at 5238581 to 88 or 09176311903, or e-mail pilgrimagecenter@pilgrimage.ph or http://www.pilgrimage.ph.

A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to stay focused on You so as not to sink and be drowned in the raging waters of this world. Amen.

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Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/106297/stay-focused#ixzz4pdxEXIGe
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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13 AUGUST, 2017, Sunday, 19th Week, Ordinary Time
FINDING FOCUS IN THE STORMS OF LIFE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ 1 KGs 19:9.11-13PS 84:9-14ROM 9:1-5MT 14:22-33 ]

Like the disciples in the gospel we all battle with the storms of life.  They were “battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind.”  This is the reality of life.  All of us have storms in life, regardless whether we are young students in school or in tertiary institutions, working or retired at home.  This life is fraught with challenges.  This is true even when we are successful or when we do good.  As it is said, call no man at peace till he is dead, and that we must add “hopefully!”

Indeed, this was the case of Elijah.  He had just performed two great miracles by his efficacious prayers to God.  He had won victory over the false prophets of Baal and killed them.  Secondly, he performed the miracle of the rain as Israel was in drought, demonstrating the power of Yahweh and who the true God is.  Instead of being impressed, Queen Jezebel was enraged when she heard how Elijah destroyed her prophets.  She decided to eliminate Elijah and went for his life.  We can imagine the anti-climax that Elijah must have experienced after being elated at these two victories.  Victory turned to discouragement, fear and loneliness.  He had to flee for his life.  Alone and discouraged, he sought refuge in the desert.  He wanted to die and felt defeated and useless.  “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”  (1 Kg 19:4b)  

Jesus in the gospel was battling with His life and mission as well.  Earlier on, He was informed of the death of His cousin, John the Baptist, who was beheaded by King Herod.  (cf Mt 14:1-9) We read that “when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”  (Mt 14:13)  He was thinking that what happened to John the Baptist and all the prophets before him would also happen to Him.  He sensed the danger of death ahead of Him.

In such moments as these, what we need to do is to withdraw.  This is the first stage of finding focus.  We cannot continue to fight the battle when we have lost our focus, our direction and our sanity.  When we are angry, disillusioned and resentful like Elijah, we cannot remain objective.  Instead of acting, we will just react to situations and people who are against us. If we retaliate like our opponents, then we will fare no better than them.  That was what Jesus did not do.  Instead, He retreated to find focus.

The first attempt to find rest in a deserted place failed because the people sought Him out, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.  But He did not give up easily.  When He found the next opportunity, He withdrew to pray. We too often find ourselves overwhelmed by problems and demands, one after another.  There will always will be an urgent need or thing to do but we must find the window for us to escape to pray as Jesus did.

So too God lead Elijah away from the troubles that were overwhelming him.  He came to comfort Elijah and led him through the desert to Mount Horeb, where He revealed Himself to Moses.  From Beersheba, Elijah walked through the desert to the Mountain of the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, covering almost 250 miles.

The pilgrimage that Jesus and Elijah did was simply to enter into themselves.  It was a journey inward.  The pilgrimage did not start when Elijah reached Mount Horeb, it began from the moment he left Beersheba and all the way to the Mountain.  He needed time to process his feelings, his fears and his underlying motivations for all he did.  Indeed, the Lord challenged Elijah to look deeper into his resentment and disappointment   When asked by the Lord twice what was bothering him, he replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” (1 kg 19:10,14)  But that was not true.  Elijah was self-righteous.  He was engaged in self-pity.  He was not the lone true prophet as he claimed to be.  There were other good prophets too.  He thought too highly of himself.  We too often think that we are the only good people left when there are many more good people around us.

Indeed, the real pilgrimage we need to take is to become more aware of ourselves, our anger, feelings and motives.  To find focus in life, we need to withdraw from the hurly burly of life and enter inward to find ourselves, like Jesus and Elijah.  Only then can we find clarification.

From an inward journey, we must then take the upward journey to God. This is symbolised in Elijah going up to Mount Horeb and Jesus going up to the hills to pray. It was in the silence of the cave that Elijah heard the Lord speaking to Him.  God did not appear in the mighty works of creation as he thought he would, for God is often associated with earthquakes, fire, wind, lightning and thunder.  On the contrary, God came to him in a whisper.

How true! God often speaks to us in the silence and recesses of our hearts.   I know of many who encounter God when they are in deep contemplative prayer or when they “rest in the Spirit”.  Many of them testify to the peace, the healing and assurance they received during such moments of encountering the Lord.  In solitude and in silence, the Lord comes to our lives and put all things in perspective.  So we must look for God in silence; not turn to the pub, or alcohol, or social activities to drown our pains and frustrations.  They will only lead us to more problems and more frustrations.   But like Elijah and Jesus, we must make the inward journey into ourselves and then the upward journey to God.

From this upward journey, we are now ready to move out and make the outward journey. We note that after encountering God, Elijah was given a clear mission.  To Elijah the Lord told him. “You shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.  Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha as prophet in your place.”  (1 kg 19:15f)  He would no longer be alone but he would have an assistant to help him in his mission.  Jesus too, after spending time with His Father, came to rescue the disciples from the storm.  “Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’  And as they got into the boat the wind dropped.”  With Jesus in their boat, there was calmness again.   With Jesus in our midst, there is no need to be afraid of anything.  With the assurance of His love, we can do everything in Him.

We too who have received the gospel must now do likewise.  Having encountered the Lord and been renewed in His love, we must now reach out to those who are lost in the storms of life.  We must help others to find focus, just as St Paul did in the second reading.  He was moved by God’s mercy and love for him.  He felt so much for his fellow Jews who rejected the gospel when they were the chosen people of God.  He said, “my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood.”  Truly, only when we have encountered God’s mercy and love, will we also desire to share our experience with others as St Paul and Elijah wanted.

However, in this process, we must never take our eyes off Jesus again. This was the mistake of St Peter.  In his impulsive and spontaneous response, he asked the Lord, “’If it is you, tell me to come to you across the water … but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink.”   Indeed, those of us who have been renewed must never take our eyes away from the Lord.  We must not depend on our impulse to do great things for God.  Our spiritual life cannot be dependent on finding new highs and experiences all the time.  We cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by our heart and feelings alone.  Whilst it is important to be ruled by love, as Peter did, we also need to use our reason and discipline to help us overcome the trials of life.  The way of Christ is always through the cross and suffering.

Nevertheless, even if we sink again, let us also never forget that He will save us again, just as He put out his hand at once and held Peter saying, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”  Peter failed the Lord many times and betrayed Him.  But the great thing about Peter was not that he failed, but that he was humble enough to pick himself up again. Through his failures, he came closer to the Lord.  Through his failures, he learnt to be humble.   We too should not be afraid of failure but we must continue to rely on His grace and mercy.   He will not fail us even when we fail Him.  This is our God, the merciful and compassionate one.  All He asks of us is to have faith in Him and bring Him into our lives.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

Prayer and Meditation for Friday, October 30, 2015 — God wants you to be well and wants you to live a happy, productive life – no matter what

October 29, 2015

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 483

Reading 1 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 children of Israel;
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.

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

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R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
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Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
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R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
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He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
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R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
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He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
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R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Alleluia  JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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Gospel LK 14:1-6

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On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.
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First Thoughts from Peace and Freedom
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Our online Gospel study effort is now in its fourth year. Only now have we been able to notice the significance of repeated examination and study of the Sacred Scriptures.
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A theme repeated over and over again in the scriptures is, “Do not be afraid.”
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When someone today asks, “What do we get as Christians?” we might answer: “Do not be afraid. Everything is possible with God.”
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Our daily practices of our Christian faith opens the door to more intervention of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Once we realize “All things are possible with God” and “Do not be afraid” have given us inner peace and strength, only then can we take risks in serving others more totally and spiritually.
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Our goal is to be saved unto eternity — but if we constantly cower in fear on this earth we cannot find and do the mission God sent us here to perform.
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Our lives do not belong to us. Rather, God gives us life as an opportunity to find the mission He has for us!
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We all wish to be welcomed into heaven. Our first and daily step is to bolster our faith and gratitude — and the more we watch our fears slip away, the more capable we become of achieving God’s plan for us.
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“Fear not” and “do not be afraid” — along with some alternative forms with the same meaning — appears in the Bible more than 300 times. When Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty on Easter morning, an angels says to her, “Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 28: 5). As Jesus encourages his disciples to walk upon the water, he says, “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:2) When Mary is visited by the angel, he says to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.” (Luke 1)
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There are many, many more times we are told, through the scripture, to set our fears aside and have a peaceful mind. This might be the first daily fruit of our faith.
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The Angel Gabriel announces to Mary her pregnancy
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This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
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Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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Another anti-anxiety prayer is this one:
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God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!
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Today’s readings have some gems in them as always:
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In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (ROM 9:1-5), he talks of  “great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.”
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What makes Paul so impassioned that he talks about his own constant anguish? Not only does he love the people of God, but he will not have a part in any religious understanding that paints God as unfaithful to promises God has made.
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He seems to be saying he is of Israel and “one of the Children on God.”
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The name Israel has a double meaning. The name can mean “God strives” and it also can mean “the one who strives with God.”
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In the scripture, the Israelites are the ones who strive with and for God. They can do this without fear, anxiety, or anguish. Why. Because God has said he is faithful to his people.
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There are 49 bible verses that tell us God is faithful to his people. There are 76 Bible Verses that say, “Do Not Be Afraid.” (Plus many more with slightly different words but the same meaning as “do not be afraid.”)
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See also:
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49 Bible Verses say God is Faithful to his People:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God,-Faithfulness-Of
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76 Bible Verses that say, “Do Not Be Afraid.”
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/phrases/Do-Not-Be-Afraid
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John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom
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Related:
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Commentary on Luke 14:1-6 From Living Space

Today we enter a series of four teachings from Jesus, all connected with meals.

It begins with another example of a confrontation between Jesus and some religious leaders on a sabbath. Altogether there are seven sabbath healings recorded in the gospels, of which Luke mentions five. The other two are in John – the healing of the paralysed man at the Sheep Gate (5:10ff) and the healing of the man born blind (9:14ff).

Jesus had apparently been invited to have a meal in a Pharisee’s house on a sabbath day.

We have mentioned before that the word ‘Pharisee’ means ‘separated one’. They numbered about 6,000 and were found all over Palestine. They taught in synagogues, saw themselves as religious paragons and were self-appointed guardians of the Law and its observance. They regarded their interpretations of traditions to be virtually as authoritative as Scripture (cf. Mark 7:8-13). The Scribes studied, interpreted and taught the Law, both written and oral. Most of them were also Pharisees and hence they are often paired in the Gospel.

It certainly looks as if the invitation was what is known as a ‘set up’ because, we are told, “they observed him closely”. And there (what a coincidence!) right in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy, an accumulation of fluid in the body caused by some other illness. (This is the only place in the original Greek of the New Testament where the term Luke uses for this sickness is found.)

Far from being put on the defensive, Jesus immediately throws down a challenge: “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” Strictly speaking, according to the letter of the Law as interpreted by the scribes and Pharisees present, it was not lawful. Because “curing” involved “medical work” and it could take time and energy. By asking them his question before the healing, Jesus made it difficult for them to protest afterwards.

And in fact they dared not give him an answer. To say ‘Yes’ could make them seem lax in their interpretation; to say ‘No’ would seem cruel to the man. So Jesus took the man, healed him on the spot and sent him off.

He then turns to his critics with another question: “If one of you has a son or an ox and he falls into a pit, will he not immediately rescue him on the sabbath day?” They had no answer because no answer was necessary or possible. What Jesus had done was unlawful only according to rabbinic interpretations but not according to the Mosaic Law itself.

Their mindset was revealed and it was not the mindset of Jesus. For them people came second to legalities. For Jesus the law was for people. Jesus was moved by compassion and the well-being of people. Sometimes that meant the law had to be put aside – a principle which they also recognised as proved by the examples that Jesus gave.

How many times have we become the victims of human respect? How often have we failed to go to the help of a person because we were afraid of what people might say or how they might judge us? They may even throw Church ‘rules’ and ‘commandments’ in our face as criticism. But no one who acts out of genuine love for others can go far wrong. No truly loving act can be sinful.

http://livingspace.sacredspace.ie/o2306g/

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“Do you want to be well?”

The Paralyzed Man at the Sheep Gate
(John 5:1-30)

John is the only gospel writer who gives us any real indication about the length of Jesus’ ministry. John tells us about two times, at least, that Jesus and the disciples attended the annual Passover Festival in Jerusalem.

Read about Jesus’ encounter with the paralyzed man He met as He entered the city.

For the five major Festivals celebrated in Jerusalem, most devout Jews made a pilgrimage to the city. With a traveling party as big as Jesus’, they would have to arrive early to find a big enough place to sleep, so they made sure they were in the city early.

During the day on Friday, He and His traveling party had stopped and stayed in a community just outside Jerusalem so they didn’t have to walk far on Saturday morning. (There was a religious law that said you couldn’t walk more than 2,000 cubits (0.596 miles) in an unpopulated area on the Sabbath.) Consequently, they arrived at one of the southern walls of the city. For them, they came in Jerusalem’s back door.

For all of the attention Jesus gave to keeping the letter of the Sabbath law on that day, it still didn’t go so well.
There was a wading pool next to the southern gate. Travelers used the pool to rinse their feet from the dusty road. This particular pool seemed to have some amazing powers. When no one was in the pool and the wind blew just right through the five openings of the gate, the surface of the pool rippled. Tradition said that the first person who entered the pool when it did that would be cured from whatever illness they had.

Art: Jesus and the disciples with the Paralyzed Man at the Sheep Gate

For some reason, Jesus paid particular attention to a man who had been paralyzed for the last 38 years. The man was lying next to the pool, gazing (or staring) at it intently.

Jesus asked the man a simple question, “Do you want to be well?”

The Jewish leaders and everyone around the pool thought that the man was an invalid. He had been lying at the pool for 38 years. The man, himself, hadn’t even tried to get into the pool for decades. He had been content to lie there and accept the charity of passersby for a LONG time.

I have no doubt that there was a time when the man WAS paralyzed, but when Jesus met him, he was already physically ABLE to walk. Only his spirit remained paralyzed.

Therefore, Jesus’ question was remarkably poignant.

The man answered Jesus with the same excuse he had given for decades, “No one will help me.”

Jesus decided to give the man the courage he needed to carry on with his life. He told the man to pick up his mat and walk away from the pool.

The trouble with that was that it was the Sabbath. Picking up his mat was work. Performing healing arts was also work. Both the man and Jesus just broke the rules.

Never mind that the man had been “healed” long before that Saturday morning. Never mind that the man had honored God on the Sabbath by mustering the courage to transform his life into being the happy, productive person God intended him to be. The Jewish leaders didn’t care about any of that. For them, religion was all about making sure that other people followed the rules and stayed in their assigned places in society.

This story has at least two lessons for us.

  1. Do you want to be well?
  2. God wants you to be well and wants you to live a happy, productive life – no matter what has happened in your life before now and no matter what day of the week it is or what anyone else says.

http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/LessonsFromStJohnStudy/04TheParalyzedMan.php

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The high priest Eliashib with his brethren, and priests built the Sheep Gate and set up its doors. This is first gate mentioned. The spiritual meaning of the Sheep Gate is that the high priest was building it and that through the Sheep Gate lambs and sheep were brought to the temple, in which they were offered. The Lord and the Messiah (Christ) Jesus (Yeshua) is the High Priest of New Covenant, who is the Lamb, who was offered for the sake of our sins. Spiritual meaning of Sheep Gate is death and offering the Lamb (the Lord Jesus), which death, blood and resurrection bring us forgiveness of sins and redemption. The high priest was setting up the doors of the Sheep Gate, which means that He is the Door of the sheep. Through the Lord Jesus a man will be saved from the power of death-, sin and eternal damnation to eternal life.

Read More About The Gates:

http://www.kotipetripaavola.com/Jerusalemgatesspiritualmeaning.html

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Pope Francis had a good teacher! We can follow His lead too!
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Pope Francis stops for a moment of silent prayer, much as Jesus did, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, September 23, 2015
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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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30 OCTOBER 2015, Friday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time
COMPASSION GOES BEYOND THE LAWS

SCRIPTURE READINGS: ROM 9:1-5; LK 14:1-6

It is said that we apply justice to strangers but compassion to our loved ones. For those whom we love, we will be very lenient with them.  Some of us would even find excuses for them to mitigate their mistakes.  For those whom we do not know, we are very hard with them when they do wrong.  This was the situation with the Pharisees.  They interpreted everything in a legalistic way.  Consequently, it was obvious to them that according to the Law, there should be no work and therefore no healing on the Sabbath.  Yes, what the Pharisees lacked is the compassion and love of God.  The only justice they knew is the justice of man, but not the justice of God.

Jesus, however, looked at the problem very differently.  What was most important for Jesus was that the man before Him was suffering.  He needed help as quickly as possible.  If we truly loved someone in pain, we would not want to prolong his or her sufferings unnecessarily.  We would try to relieve his/her pain as quickly as possible.  We would not say that we will come back tomorrow to ease the pain of the person when we can do it today.  Hence, if we really loved someone, we would do anything to help, even if it meant going beyond the laws.

Such was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  Jesus exposed their pretense by posing to them a situation in which they had a son or an ox that had fallen into a pit.  Would they break the Sabbath law to rescue them?  The answer is obvious and revealing.  If the object of their love was in difficulty, they would have forgotten about the laws and instinctively gone to the rescue.  But if that someone were not related to them, they would have acted harshly and unfeelingly.  This shows that the Pharisees were not really serious in upholding the Sabbath law.  What they were lacking was simply a heart of compassion, a heart that feels with others.

Jesus shows us what genuine compassion is all about.  For Him, what was all important was that the man needed help.  And so Jesus healed the man even when others were watching Him disapprovingly.  For the sake of the man, Jesus took the risk of offending the legalistic Pharisees.  But Jesus would not be cowed into holding back from doing that which was right, simply because some people were not happy with His compassionate love towards the man suffering from dropsy.  The truth is that Jesus valued people more than the laws, more than His popularity.  When it came to doing good, there was no postponement for Jesus.

This same compassion was also present in the life of St Paul.  In the first reading, he wrote of his love and compassion for his fellow kinsmen.  He felt sad for them that they still did not come to know Christ.  So intense was his love for them that he would even be separated from Christ for the sake of them.  Yes, Paul felt very much for them because they seemed to have everything except Christ.  They were the specially chosen people of God, they were given the glory, the covenants, the laws, the worship, the promises – everything – but they did not realize that Christ was the promise and the fulfillment of the hope of their forefathers.

How then can one cultivate the compassion of Jesus and St Paul?  What was the secret of their compassion for others?  Simply this: both of them understood themselves.  They understood the meaning of suffering and the meaning of pain.  They too had suffered in their own ways. Compassion for others requires that we begin with ourselves.  We are no different from others.  If we need love, understanding and forgiveness, so do others.  That is why Jesus told us in His Sermon on the Mount that we must do to others what we would like others to do unto us.

Secondly, we must, like Paul and Jesus, recognize every fellow human being as our brother, sister and our kinsmen.   Unless we see others as our relatives and loved ones, we will tend to be harsh and unfeeling towards them.  But if we see that they are truly our brothers and sisters of the same Lord and of the same Father whom we worship, then we would not treat them as strangers.  Only when we have this perspective towards them can we then exercise the compassion of God.  If not we would only exercise the attitude of a human judge who applies strict justice to everyone without human compassion and feelings.

Thirdly, we must understand that the judgment of God is just and yet merciful.  The justice of God is never exercised apart from love.  Even when God is just, He is at the same time merciful.  His exercise of justice is based on the principle of love.  Concretely, this means that God would take everything into consideration in making judgment on us; our life history, our intentions, the circumstances.  When God judges therefore, He is not simply taking an action by itself without relating to the whole life of the doer.  That is why God’s justice is also His love as well.  God’s justice takes into account the whole person, his past and present circumstances.

Let us today imitate Paul and Jesus in their compassion for others.  We must always put people before the laws.  As Jesus told us in another passage of the gospel, the Sabbath is made for man; not man for the Sabbath.  Laws are simply meant to help us to regulate our lives in a harmonious way with God and our fellow human beings.  They are meant to give life not to destroy or inhibit life.  Laws must therefore never be applied without taking into consideration the special circumstances of each person.  The fundamental principle enunciated by Jesus is that obedience to the laws must give life.

Hence, we must be careful not to postpone a good deed which can be done today.  To do so is already killing a good deed.  How often in our daily life have we been prompted to do something good by the Holy Spirit, such as writing a letter to affirm someone, or a thank you card, or visit someone in hospital, but because we procrastinated, we ended up not doing it at all.  Postponement is truly the work of the evil spirit whereas an inspiration to do good is the work of the Holy Spirit.   Let us, as the hymn says, “give a helping hand while we can because we might never pass this way again”.

http://www.catholic.org.sg/scripture-reflection/b/

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Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, August 10, 2014 — “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

August 9, 2014

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 115

Reading 1 1 kgs 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;
the LORD will be passing by.”
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.
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Responsorial Psalm ps 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14

R/ (8) 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.
R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
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.
R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 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.

Gospel mt 14:22-33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”
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Homily from the Abbot

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

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And you? Are you like Saint Peter? Most of us are! We are enthused at times by the Lord Jesus–and then we get frightened. We want to walk with Christ and act as He does and did–and then when we find ourselves doing the impossible, we realize that we cannot do the impossible and our faith fails.

Today the readings begin with the First Book of Kings. Elijah wants to see the Lord. Ah, how we all long to see the Lord and yet look in the wrong places! Not in some very special experience do we find the Lord, but in the small and the ordinary experiences of our daily life. We have to learn that the daily ordinariness of life is our cave and that the tiny whispering sound is always with us. We are invited to open our ears now and to stand in the entrance of our cave, our daily life which seems so ordinary.

The second reading is from the Letter to the Romans. It also gives us a deep secret of the spiritual life: love for our own people and willingness to give our life for them. Yes, we can acknowledge the role of our Jewish ancestors in the faith and give thanks for them. We also much acknowledge all those who in our own lives have been our ancestors in the faith, and give thanks for them. Our ancestors in the faith are no more perfect than we are, but they are our ancestors in the faith who have handed on faith to us.

Sometimes our ancestors in the faith are our physical ancestors and sometimes they are only spiritual ancestors. Yet we must come to see all the ways in which others have brought us to life and have handed on faith to us. Sometimes our ancestors are people whom we can touch and identify easily. At other times, our ancestors are people whose books we have read, whose lives and deeds have given us life and whose relationship to us is much less direct. We all have a rich heritage of ancestors!

The Gospel of Matthew today opens us to the mystery of prayer and of presence. First we note that Jesus is not afraid of going apart from others for the sake of prayer and of being present to His Father. We also must learn the necessity of going apart to pray, of being alone with God, of taking time for this longing and communion with the Father.

When the needs of others call out to us, however, we must try to be present to them and respond to that need. Jesus sees the needs of His followers in their ordinary existence. Jesus is not out looking for others. Evangelization is being present in the ordinary and recognizing the deep need of others for the divine in their ordinary life. There are always storms and there is always need. It is not something extraordinary!

Finally, we see the profound need to act in faith and not rely on our human strength alone. The challenge is to keep our eyes and our hearts fixed only on Jesus and not on what is happening around us. We are aware of what is happening around us always, we cannot pretend otherwise. But in the heart of our daily existence, we can keep our hearts set only on the Lord. In that choice, Christ can become our power and our strength. Christ is the power and strength of love and of concern for others.

Come, let us walk on the water in the storms of life because our feet are held fast in the way of Christ.

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Lectio Divina from the Carmelites

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Some questions:

In moments of darkness and interior storms, how do I react? How are the presence and absence of the Lord integrated in me? What place does personal prayer and dialogue with God have in me?
What do we ask the Lord in a dark night? A miracle, that he frees us from this? A greater faith? In which attitudes am I similar to Peter?

Meditatio

Brief commentary

22. And at once he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side while he sent the crowds away.
The multiplication of the loaves (14, 13-21) could have generated in the disciples triumphant expectations concerning the Kingdom of God. Therefore, Jesus orders them at once to get away. He ‘obliged’, usually a verb of strong significance. The people acclaim Jesus as a Prophet (Jn 6, 14-15) and wish to make him a political ruler. The disciples are easily drawn by this (Mk 6, 52; Mt 16, 5-12), there is the risk of allowing themselves to be drawn by the enthusiasm of the people. The disciples have to abandon this situation.

23. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came he was there alone.
Jesus finds himself in front a situation in which the Galilean crowd becomes enthusiastic because of the miracle and runs the risk of not understanding His mission. In this very important moment, Jesus withdraws alone in prayer, as in Gethsemane (Mt 26, 36-46).

24. While the boat, by now some furlongs from land, was hard pressed by rough waves, for there was a head-wind.
This verse where the boat is noticed, without Jesus, in danger, can be close to verse 32 where the danger ceases when Jesus and Peter get into the boat.

25. In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea.
Jesus appears to his disciples in an extraordinary way. He transcends the human limitations, he has authority on creation. He acts as God alone can do it (Job 9, 8; 38, 16).

26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’, they said, and cried out in fear.
The disciples were struggling with the contrary wind, they had lived a very impressing day and now a sleepless night. At night (between three and six), in the middle of the sea, they were really terrified in seeing one coming towards them. They did not think in the possibility that it could be Jesus. Their vision is too human , and they believe in ghosts (Lk 24, 37). The Risen Lord though, has overcome the force of chaos represented by the waves of the sea.

27. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying. ‘Courage! It is me! Do not be afraid!.
The presence of Jesus drives away all fear (9, 2.22). In saying “It is me” he evokes his identity (Es 3, 14) and manifests the power of God (Mk 14, 62; Lk 24, 39; Jn 8, 58; 18, 5-6). Fear is overcome by faith.

28. It was Peter who answered: ‘Lord, he said, ‘If it is you, tell me to come to you across the water’.
Peter seems to want still another confirmation of the presence of Jesus. He asks for a sign.

29. Jesus said, ‘Come’. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water.
Nevertheless, Peter is ready to run the risk, getting out of the boat and trying to walk on the agitated waves, in the midst of a strong wind (v. 24). He faces the risk of believing in the Word: ‘Come’.

30. But then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink: ‘Lord’, he cried, ‘save me!’
Perseverance is also necessary in the choice of faith. The contrary forces (the wind) are so many, that there is the risk of sinking. The prayer of petition saves him..

31. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘You have so little faith, he said, ‘why did you doubt?’
Peter is not left alone in his weakness. In the storms of Christian life we are not alone. God does not abandon us even if apparently is absent and does nothing.

32. And as they got into the boat the wind dropped.
As soon as Jesus got in the boat the forces of evil cease. The force of hell shall not prevail over it.

33. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said: ¡Truly, you are the Son of God.
Now comes that profession of faith which had been prepared in the preceding episode of the multiplication of the loaves, purified by the experience of getting away from the Bread of eternal life (Jn 6, 1-14). Now Peter can also confirm his brothers in faith, after the trial.

5. For those who wish to go deeper into the text

Jesus, man of prayer

Jesus prays in solitude and at night (Mt 14, 23; Mk 1, 35; Lk 5, 16), during the time of meals (Mt 14, 19; 15, 36; 26, 26-27). On the occasion of important events: for Baptism (Lk 3, 21), before choosing the twelve (Lk 6, 12), before teaching how to pray (Lk 11, 1; Mt 6, 5); before the confession of Caesarea (Lk 9, 18); in the Transfiguration (Lk 9, 28-29), in Gethsemane (Mt 26, 36-44); on the Cross (Mt 27, 46; Lk 23, 46). He prays for his executioners (Lk 23, 34); for Peter (Lk 22, 32), for his disciples and for those who will follow him (Jn 17, 9-24). He also prays for himself (Mt 26, 39; Jn 17, 1-5; Heb 5, 7). He teaches to pray (Mt 6, 5), He manifests a permanent relationship with the Father (Mt 11, 25-27), sure that He never leaves him alone (Jn 8, 29), and always hears him (Jn 11, 22.42; Mt 26, 53). He has promised (Jn 14, 16) to continue to intercede in heaven (Rm 8, 34; Heb 7, 25; I Jn 2, 1).

6. Oratio: Psalm 33

I will praise Yahweh from my heart;
let the humble hear and rejoice.

Proclaim with me the greatness of Yahweh,
let us acclaim his name together.

I seek Yahweh and he answers me,
frees me from all my fears.

Fix your gaze on Yahweh and your face will grow bright,
you will never hang your head in shame.

A pauper calls out and Yahweh hears,
saves him from all his troubles.

The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear him,
and rescues them.

Taste and see that Yahweh is good.
How blessed are those who take refuge in him.

Fear Yahweh, you his holy ones;
those who fear him lack for nothing.

Contemplatio

Lord Jesus, sometimes we are full of enthusiasm and forget that You are the source of our joy: In the moments of sadness we do not seek you or we want your miraculous intervention. Now we know that you never abandon us, that we should not fear. Prayer is also our force. Increase our faith, we are ready to risk our life for your Kingdom.

http://www.ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-19th-sunday-ordinary-time

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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THE REAL TEST OF FAITH IS SURMOUNTED THROUGH PRAYER 

SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 KGS 19:9, 11-13; ROM 9:1-5; MT 14:22-33
http://www.universalis.com/20140810/mass.htm

The liturgy today challenges us to examine the depth of our faith in Christ.  For today our faith is constantly at risk due to personal and impersonal threats.  In life, we are constantly vulnerable to broken relationships, be it infidelity, betrayal, slander or even persecution.  This was the situation of Elijah when his enemies were going after his life for slaying the false prophets. Sometimes, the trials of life come as a result of natural causes or unforeseen circumstances.  This could be a loss of job as in a retrenchment, a failure in a project or a business or a sickness.  In all these situations, our lives are in jeopardy and our security is endangered.

Faith is challenged not only in adverse circumstances but most of all when we are tested in our love for God and for others.  How many of us can be like St Paul who was willing even to sacrifice his security and life for their loved ones? Would you still continue to be faithful to God and to your spouse who has been unfaithful?  Would you still continue to help your wayward son who is involved in drugs, gambling and getting himself into all kinds of debt and trouble and trust that God somehow will give him the grace to change?

Because our faith is always under test and being challenged, it is therefore vital that we be prepared always lest the temptation of despair is too overwhelming for us.  By then, it might be too late as has happened to many people.  We must avoid falling into the same mistake of Peter who thought that he was confident enough to walk to Jesus on the waters but when he “felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink.” When confronted with stress and pressure of various kinds and of great intensity, we too tend to lose faith.  As a result, we become bitter, resentful and crippled in life.  Like the disciples, we are crippled by fear and disillusionment.

How then can we be prepared for all situations so that our faith will not fail us?  The answer is clear: pray.  To know God we must find Him at the mountain, just as Jesus and Elijah did.  Instead of looking down at the waters, as Peter did and began to lose hope, we are called to look up, to the mountain where we can find the strength of God.  Instead of looking only at our problems, we are called to focus our eyes on the power and strength of Jesus.  Prayer is the key to remaining calm and firm when we are tempted to despair.  We cannot follow Peter who prayed only when he was paralyzed by fear.  Prayer cannot be a last resort in resolving situations but it must permeate all our activities in life.

Let us be clear that prayer is not to be understood as escapism or opium to dull our minds and pains.  Rather, like Elijah, prayer must be seen as a tactical retreat and withdrawal in order that we might recollect our direction and vision.  In fact the mountain is very symbolic of what God wants for us.  When we are at the mountain we can see everything in life in perspective.  Quite often we lose hope in life because we fail to see things according to the mind and plan of God.  When people come before God in prayer, they only tell God how big their problems are but they never tell God how big He is!  Precisely because we do not think that He is Big enough to solve our problems, we become anxious and worried.  So prayer is necessary to keep our objective and vision clear.  This was true both for Elijah and Jesus.  For Elijah, he needed time to discern the direction that God was taking him, since his jealous love for Yahweh seems to have landed him in trouble.  It was also the case for Jesus whom we are told went up to the hills to pray as the people wanted to make Him a political king.  It is part of the discernment process to help us distinguish the ghosts and illusions in our lives like the apostles.

But to be able to see life from God’s perspective, we must listen to Him in the silence of our hearts.  That is why at the mountains when we are all alone, God’s voice is clearest.  Indeed, Elijah did not experience God in the mighty wind or an earthquake or a fire but in the gentle breeze.  The disciples too did not experience God in the storm but only when Jesus got into the boat and the wind had dropped.  So if we want to find God and hear His voice, then we need to be quiet and listen to His promptings and counsel when we pray and meditate.

Quite often the noise of the world and our activities drown out the voice of God speaking to us in our hearts.  We think that when we are involved in many activities, we would find God.  We think that we can only find God in spectacular situations, in big rallies and prayer meetings.  The truth is that God is found more than not in the quietness of our hearts when we are silent in contemplative prayer.

Secondly, we must pray so that we can recognize God’s presence in the storms of life.  God is always present but very often we are unable to recognize Him.  For the first reading says that, “the Lord himself went by” when Elijah stood outside the cave of the mountain but he missed seeing His presence.  Similarly, the disciples did not see Jesus in the storm.  They thought He was a ghost even though Jesus was present with them all the time.  Jesus knew that His disciples needed help.  Truly, God will never abandon us.  Even if we feel His absence because of the lack of prayer or consciousness of His presence, we must realize that He is always there in our midst.  It remains true that real faith is not simply to recognize His presence when the storms have subsided but to trust in His faithful presence even in the storms.  Hence, we must continue to persevere in the storms and wait for the calm to return.  Once the calm returns, we will be able to feel His presence again.

But it is not enough to recognize His presence. We must also feel His presence as well.  Although St Peter recognized His presence, he began to sink because he could only feel the force of the wind, not the presence of Jesus.  Similarly, Elijah needed to feel God’s presence in the breeze before he found faith.

Truly if we feel the presence of God in the storms of life and not just know and believe in faith that He is present, we would remain firm and strong, come what may.  Yes, we must pray for the gift of faith to see and hear Him in our storms saying, “Courage.  It is I.  Do not be afraid!”  So that instead of being fearful, we can surrender our lives in reverence at the divine plan of God; and in adoration for Jesus as we move from faith in Him to worship and adoration just as in the case of the disciples who “bowed down before him and said, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

However before we can grow from faith to adoration, which is intimacy with Him, we must acknowledge our helplessness, like Peter who cried out to Jesus, “Save me, O Lord.”  Unless we recognize we need help, God will not intervene in our lives.  Without humility and a ready acknowledgement of our powerlessness, God cannot reach out to us with His grace.

Perhaps because many of us are so proud and not used to relying on God but our own strength, we suffer an inability to let go and let God take over.  For this reason, sometimes, God allows us to suffer, not to punish us but to help us recognize our position in the universe and that we are not so mighty after all.  God allows us to experience failures, frustrations and hopelessness.  These are valuable moments for they make us reach out in trust and surrender to God.  It is in our weakness that we find strength in the saving grace of God.  In our abasement, we find the power of God; in our fears we find new courage; in our helplessness, we find the miraculous intervention of God.  Truly, in many ways, storms reveal our helplessness and God’s greatness.  Storms help us to be humble and thus can be a good pedagogy for deepening our faith.

Unfortunately many of us learn too late, as we do not have a relationship with the Lord. In good times, nothing perhaps will disturb our peace; but when tragedy or misfortune strikes, our faith might not be strong enough to see us through.  If we are not prepared, we might even lose our faith.  Without doubt, we will have to go through very difficult times and purification before we come to find God and His peace again.  So whilst we are still happy and strong, let us not take our faith for granted.  We must, whilst we can, cultivate a strong faith in Him and develop a real personal relationship with Him.  In this way, we will be prepared for any situation in life and ready to carry the cross unto death when the trials come, knowing that the resurrection is within our reach.

Yes, only in prayer and most of all in a personal relationship with Jesus, can we learn to trust Him more and more with our lives.  Without a personal knowledge of Jesus, we would not be able to accept the risks, as Peter did, in walking on the waters of life.  Only a real faith can empower us to leave our relative security behind and follow Jesus with conviction through the storms and trials of life, for we know that the Lord is always waiting for us even if we cannot see Him.  Truly, a mature believer has this immoveable foundation that God is and that He cares; that He is watching us through the storms.  Only a faith of this caliber can withstand the good and bad times of life.  Indeed, a true faith is one that can truly proclaim that God is good all the time because He is God!

– See more at: http://www.csctr.net/10-august-2014-19th-sunday-in-ordinary-time/#sthash.mTvqPlnB.dpuf

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