August 9th, 2020: Homily- Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Good morning.

The first rule I knew and we have to follow while driving a motor vehicle is: “Keep your eyes on the road, “.

This is the same also with our readings today that we have to focus our eyes on the Lord. In our first reading, Elijah thought that he could find God in the thunderstorm, earthquake and fire but he experienced the Lord in a tiny, whispering wind. In the second reading, St. Paul regretted that his people had rejected Christ, instead on focusing on Him.

But the gospel passage today, the story of Jesus walking on the sea teaches us a lot about who Jesus is, about the church and her journey through the world and about the life of faith of the individual believer.

First is about Jesus. The miracle walking of Jesus on the sea shows that Jesus is Lord and has authority over all forces, natural and supernatural. The Jews believed that the sea is the domain of supernatural forces. A rough and stormy sea is regarded as the work of these bad spirits. By walking on the raging waves and calming the stormy sea, Jesus is showing Himself to be one who has power and total control over these hostile spiritual forces. But into day’s gospel reading brings us the good news that these powers of darkness have no chance at all when Jesus is present and active in our lives and affairs.

Second is about the Church. The boat on the sea is one of the earliest Christian symbols for the Church in her journey through the world. Just as the boat is tossed about the waves so is the Church pounded from all sides by worldly and spiritual forces opposed to the Kingdom of God. In the midst of crises Jesus comes to strengthen the faith of the Church. He assures us that no matter how the storm of life at the moment, He is always to remain with His Church and he keeps His promise always. Remember, sad history of our church; the martyrdom of the early Christians, the persecutions of the Roman emperors, the threat of Muslims, heresies and schisms and the sexual scandal of some priests that rock the Church but the Church still exists and continues to exist in the future because Christ is with His Church.

Third is about the individual believer. The story of Jesus walking on the sea, especially the involvement of Peter in the story, is a lesson for us who are tempted to take our eyes off to Jesus and to take notice of the threatening circumstances around us. While Peter kept his eye fixed upon Jesus, he walked upon water well enough; but when he took notice of the danger he was in and focused on the waves, then he became afraid and began to sink. The strong wind in our lives could be: sickness, debt, poverty, family problems, inability to correct unjust conditions, difficulty to find decent work, apathy, temptation to give up in despair and many more. So today’s gospel reading holds a spiritual message for each one of us to focus our eyes on the Lord God at all times and to fulfill His will.

Anyway, we are asked by God to trust in Him even when the big waves threaten our faith. Especially this time of great challenge, we may experience a serious financial problem, a life-threatening sickness, unemployment or the dullness of life of being lock up at home, let us always hold on ourfaith and trust in the Lord, God is our hope and he is merciful, Christ is always thereto save us.

Yes, we must have faith in God, but we must also have faith in ourselves by doing our part.”God helps those who help themselves.”

In the words of the great Saint Augustine: “Pray as if everything depended on God; work as if everything depended on you.”

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