Monday, August 7, 2017

Trust - August 13,2017

The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  A

Reading I:  1 Kings19:9a,
Psalm:  85 

Reading II:  Romans 9:1-5

Gospel:  Matt 14:22-33

In last Sunday’s Gospel, we heard about the Transfiguration of Jesus. The Lord is preparing the disciples to witness the Passion and wants them to be aware of His divinity. In this week’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus appears walking on the sea. Again he is attempting to strengthen the faith of His apostles. They need to know that this holy man who had been with them on a daily basis is more than a human person. They have to realize His divinity also.  

At first the apostles think they are witnessing a ghost. However, Jesus calls out to them: “Take courage. It is I. Be not afraid.”
Characteristically, Peter responds enthusiastically and asks the Lord to let him come to Him over the waters. “Come!” calls Jesus. As long as Peter keeps his eyes focused on the Lord, he is able to walk on the waters, in spite of the roughness of the sea. However, when he takes his eyes off the Lord and sees how the strong winds are whipping up the sea, fear grips him and he feels himself sinking. He then cries out to the Lord: “Save me!”   

How true of many of us also. When things are going well for us, we can feel that we are doing fine and then we take our eyes off the Lord.  However, when trials come, we realize that we need the Lord, and we desperately call out for help. I often marvel at people whose trust is so secure that there is a certain peacefulness in their being, even in traumatic circumstances. 

Like everything else in life, keeping our focus on the Lord in good times as well as difficult ones is a special grace. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to love Him as He deserves to be loved and to trust Him at all times.
         “Listen to me, house of Ya’akov,
           all who remain of the house of Israel:
           I have borne you from birth,
           carried you since the womb.
           Till your old age I will be the same —
           I will carry you until your hair is white.
           I have made you, and I will bear you;
          yes, I will carry and save you.”   
                                               Isaiah 46:3-4

 Reflection:   When do you find it difficult to trust in the Lord?  Ask Him to help you.

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

En el Evangelio del domingo pasado, escuchamos acerca de la Transfiguración de Jesús. El Señor está preparando a los discípulos para presenciar la Pasión y quiere que sean conscientes de Su divinidad. En el Evangelio de esta semana, oímos que Jesús aparece caminando sobre el mar. Nuevamente está tratando de fortalecer la fe de Sus apóstoles. Necesitan saber que este santo hombre que había estado con ellos a diario es más que una persona humana. Tienen que realizar Su divinidad también.

Al principio los apóstoles piensan que están presenciando un fantasma. Sin embargo, Jesús les llama: “Tened coraje. Yo no tengo miedo. Característicamente, Pedro responde con entusiasmo y pide al Señor que le permita venir a Él sobre las aguas. “¡Ven!”, dice Jesús. Mientras Pedro mantenga los ojos fijos en el Señor, puede caminar sobre las aguas, a pesar de la aspereza del mar. Sin embargo, cuando él saca los ojos del Señor y ve cómo los fuertes vientos están azotando el mar, el miedo lo aprieta y él se siente hundido. Entonces clama al Señor: “¡Sálvame!”

¿Qué tan cierto de muchos de nosotros también. Cuando las cosas nos van bien, podemos sentir que estamos bien y luego quitamos nuestros ojos del Señor. Sin embargo, cuando vienen los juicios, nos damos cuenta de que necesitamos al Señor, y llamamos desesperadamente a pedir ayuda. A menudo me maravillo de las personas cuya confianza es tan segura que hay cierta tranquilidad en su ser, incluso en circunstancias traumáticas.

Como todo lo demás en la vida, mantener nuestra atención en el Señor tanto en los buenos tiempos como en los difíciles es una gracia especial. Pidamos al Señor la gracia de amarlo como merece ser amado y confiar en Él en todo momento.

         Escúchame, casa de Ya'akov,
           Todos los que quedan de la casa de Israel:
           Te he dado a luz desde el nacimiento,
           Llevado desde el útero.
           Hasta tu vejez seré la misma -
           Te llevaré hasta que tu pelo sea blanco.
           Yo te he hecho, y te llevaré;
          Sí, te llevaré y te salvaré.   
                                               Isaías 46:3-4

  ¿Cuándo te resulta difícil confiar en el Señor? Pídale que le ayude.


  1. St. Peter and I could form a duo singing the “I’ve got those stinking sinking-feeling blues.” Our recording would probably reach the top of the charts because it tells of a universal theme where we find ourselves focusing on our problems rather than trusting in the Lord. I can’t even count the number of times I asked the Lord for help in treading rough waters only to let go of His life saving rope and drown myself in fear. When I look back on those troublesome times I am able to see a pattern: fear, overwhelm, prayer, release, trust, and regaining balance. Sometimes I arrive at a “new normal” where things aren’t the same as before - requiring a period of adjusting to the new complexity; but in retrospect what occurred was that I traveled a path of spiritual growth. I will receive the grace necessary to adapt and return to peace and joy.
    I mentioned my mother’s recent fall in past posts. I was terrified of how the consequences of that incident would unfold. When I was in that state of panic I could not envision any possible solutions. I caught myself repeating my past pattern and decided to break the fear cycle and go straight to trust. Doing this allowed me to ride the waves and not get pulled under by the rip currents. My prayer went something like, “Lord, I might be the sole caretaker of mom, but I know I’m not alone. I’m counting on you to give me the energy I need and guide me to the resources that will make this situation work for our highest good.” The outcome has been amazing. While her recovery is still ongoing, I was able to find a woman in the Parish to visit mom in the morning and get her out of bed, dressed, properly medicated, and to also prepare breakfast for her with only one telephone call to the church rectory! Mom’s insurance authorized physical therapy at home. We were told that such approval was almost unheard of! These are but two of the wonderful little miracles that have occurred on a regular basis and the gratitude I feel is beyond expression. God has provided support that I would not have achieved on my own while wallowing around in fear.
    The August 6th meditation from the book, “Jesus Always,” written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to us reads,
    “When problems are pre-occupying your mind, turn to Me and whisper My Name…affirm your trust in me…ask Me to illuminate the way forward – helping you sort out what needs to be done today. Deal with problems as you must, but refuse to let worry or fear become central in your thoughts. Keep returning your focus to Me as often as you can, and I will light up your perspective… Delight in the Joy of my Presence.”
    Experience has proven that totally trusting in God opens my mind to be receptive to possibilities and solutions I probably would not notice if I was focused on the problem. Trusting God opens my heart to feel His love, comfort and peace which helps me to focus on His Presence. By being conscious of God’s loving Presence and Guidance in times of calm waters we are building trust in His Plan for times when it feels as though the flood gates opened.

    May you enjoy tranquil waters during the coming week,
    Pat C., ASBS

  2. Sr. Therese Mary WarnerAugust 9, 2017 at 7:05 AM

    Yes, we definitely should pray urgently for secure and continued trust in the Lord, shouldn't we? We know He always understands our weakness and wants to help us. The reassurance that He will "carry and save us" (per your quotation from Isaiah) is indescribably consoling.
    The following is a selection from a communication distributed by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas:
    Today's Gospel passage presents a sharp pair of contrasts. After sending the disciples across the water, Jesus went up on a mountain by Himself to pray. We cannot know what this simple serene contemplation with God the Father, in the Holy Spirit was like. But it is obvious that Jesus is not bound by any command similar to the one given to Moses. Jesus ascends the mountain in order to gaze directly on His Father's countenance.
    Stronger yet is the contrast made by Jesus' outreach to Peter. At 3:00 a.m. amidst darkness and strong winds, Jesus walks on the water towards His disciples. He announces Himself to them, and emboldens them: "Take not afraid." Yet, Peter immediately expresses doubt and issues a challenge to Jesus. When Jesus complies and commands Peter to walk to Him on the water, Peter is frightened by the wind and begins to sink. But he does not sink, because Jesus reaches out to him.
    God the Father sent His Son into our world to reach out to us and offer reconciliation. On this occasion, this divine Son stretches out a human hand to save Peter from his doubts. Not only does Jesus not forbid His disciples to approach, gaze upon and touch Him, Jesus reaches out to and catches Peter. The compassionate outreach of the God-man here stands in contrast, but not contradiction, to the reverential distance mandated by the Lord in the Old Testament. Of course, these two are the same Lord.
    It's not as if God became more compassionate with the passing of millennia. All the why’s and wherefores of salvation history – including the prudence of divine Providence—may perplex us. We shouldn’t underestimate the significance of the Old Testament’s lessons. Each of us sinners needs to approach our Lord with awe-filled reverence. But this reverence ought to be matched by our trust in the Lord’s desire to save us. Jesus stretches out both arms on the Cross to catch us and keep us from sinking within the misery of our sins.

  3. Dear Sr. Therese Mary, Thanks for sharing this reflection. It advocates a very balanced approach to relating to Jesus, the God-man. Both reverence and intimacy are essential to our close relationship with the Lord.