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GOD WILL MAKE IT RIGHT. A reflection for the 19th Sunday of the Ordinary Time, Year A.
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Sun, 09 Aug 2020

Readings: 1Kgs 19:9, 11-13; Rm 9:1-5; Mt 14:22-33

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    There are times when things simply do not conform. Times when many things in life get so rough, and so unpredictably fearful. Today, the Gospel recounts a huge uncertainty at sea with the disciples of Jesus. The fishermen who made their livelihood from their familiarity with the sea face the fear of the entire lives. Matthew's remarks that the boat was far at sea, while those in it battled with the ragging waves and the head-winds, evokes a great sense of distress. How do you feel when you run into menacing turbulence in the plane?

   While we ponder the dramatic scenario of the Gospel story,  we also consider the serenity of the mountain-top experience of Elijah. But we need not stop at or see only the gentle breeze experience of God's presence. Unlike the Horeb earthquake scene of Elijah's experience, the sea of Galilee was calm; the wind and the waves were absent when the followers of Jesus set out on their journey. Yet, the Lord came to his people when they have had a feel of the turmoil. We have a call to realize that God is the one who cuts through the complicated possibilities of life's rainbow colors to bring the calm to our troubled minds.

    On land, at sea, or on the mountain, the variegated stories of our lives will witness the ups and downs. The solitude of the desert, the earthquake of the hill, and the raging storms of the sea are vehicles of life's lessons. The serenity of the desert awakens our sense of prayer. The loneliness of the desert cautions us about the evil powers that lurk around there. The horizon of beauty out there at sea again unfolds with sinister forces of untamed nature. We need these experiences to help us value the worth of our peace and the joy God gives to us.

 As Elijah and Jesus spent their nights on the mountain, conversing with God, the disciples spent theirs at sea level, doing the struggle of their life. God visited Elijah in calmness, and the Lord Jesus visited the disciples, reassuring them with courage at the face of peril. The God of the mountains is still God in the valley. The God of the high ground or special places is the same God in the everyday lives that toil and grind. May we not only see that Elijah worked wonders, let us know too, that miracles do not miraculously put an end to all the problems of faith. And do not presume that everything is okay because Jesus himself had sent out the disciples across the sea. Realize also that setting out on a peaceful day does not guarantee the absence of challenge, or prevent the sudden surge of the stormy sea.

   What do we often do when we face the earthquakes on live's mountains? How do we fare when the waves of adversity and terror plunge themselves into our lives? Our family members are drenched now and again with the regrets of stormy marriages. Our parents and grandparents may come down with scary signs of the coronavirus. What do we do when brothers and sisters await the diagnosis of suspected mental health issues? Is Peter's option included in our choices? Do we ever take those first brave steps of Peter that today's Gospel underscores? Yes, we must always hurry into the hands of God in our troubles.

  Belief may never work for me until I begin to count the work of faith as a workable option. Until I start to take the limp and risk of faith, I cannot count on Christ to save what little hopes that I have. That is why true faith is not merely consenting to doctrine or a claim for our adoption through baptism. Faith must be tried and lived out in a personal encounter with Christ on life's stormy seas. When the waves beat around you, call to Jesus with all you have.



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