Sunday, August 10, 2014

Out of the Boat

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

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.  1 Kings 19:11-13
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.”  Matthew 14:25-27
Our piety is where and when we find God. We come to the entrance of the cave of our ignorance and find God passing. Our piety shows itself in our fears as we call for the help of God. Our piety asks God to come to us even as it pushes us out of the cave of our safety. Piety allows us to step out of the boat of our securities and to walk on the waters of our insecurities. Our human weakness limits what we do to what we can comfortably do. Piety calls us to let go and let God take over in our lives. Our attitude needs to be letting go and letting God direct what we would do in his name. That pushes us beyond our comfort zone into the needing of the Lord who would be our life and our happiness. 

We study the Scriptures to unfold the truth of God. Paul speaks the truth of Christ. The Israelites have the adoption by God and all the glory of the covenant and the law that come down through the patriarchs and the prophets to the coming of Christ. We recognize Christ through the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. The miracles of Christ continue in the good people of our lives in all they do for the last, the lowest and the least of their lives. We study the miracles of goodness in our day and find the echoes of the miracles of Christ.  Many wonderful things are done out of his memory. His presence in our lives pushes us beyond what we could do without his help.

We need to get out of the boat of our security and to walk on the waters of what needs to be done to allow us to close in on Christ. What we are afraid to do might well be what Christ is asking of us. Discernment allows us to differentiate what seems good from what is the allure of the pseudo good that the evil spirit would have us waste our time on in the appearance of good with which he would tempt us. Our willingness to change horses even in midstream allows us to be comfortable with what we think to do for God until we find it is the temptation of the evil one. We quickly get back in the boat of Peter when we find the Lord. He keeps us from sinking when we are walking on water and he tames the storm when our boat is floundering. The Lord is kind to us and we need to show our gratitude by what we do in his name for a better world.

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