Monday, August 8, 2011

Homily for Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

In today's Gospel, Peter shows both his impulsiveness and his inconsistancy - two characteristics that make him easy to relate to. Imagine... it's around 3 o'clock in the morning as the Apostles battle against a stormy sea, and Jesus comes walking across the water towards the boat. The Apostles are scared stiff - they think they are seeing a ghost. Even Jesus' reassurance does not take away their fears. So Peter takes the matter into his own hands and challenges the ghost to do something that only Christ could do - enable him to walk on the stormy water.

And he does - for a few steps. But then Peter takes his eyes off Christ; he looks around at the waves and the storm, and he starts to sink.

As long as Peter kept his eyes on Christ he was able to walk unhindered through the stormy sea. As soon as he let his eyes wander away from Christ to examine the intimidating waves, he began to sink. Just so, as we strive to make our way through the stormy temptations and challenges of life in a fallen world, only focusing on Christ can keep us afloat.

Christ is always close to us in our storms, asking us to believe in him. In his words to Peter, tinged with disappointment, we see how much he longs for us to trust him. He said "Why did you doubt?". And as soon as he steps on board the waves cease.

Christ wants to be our peace, our strength, and the solution to life's troubles. St Peter didn't learn this lesson right away, but he learned it well; in his First Letter he put it like this: "cast all your anxieties on him for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7).

Having faith in Christ doesn't mean that we will always understand everything that happens in life, but it does mean that we always know who we are and where we are going.
This is the priceless value of the gift of faith.

There is a story about a man who was accustomed to giving orders and having his own way. One day this fellow was traveling to an important meeting. He decided to take a shortcut and found himself thoroughly lost. He asked the first person he saw for directions, it happened to be a little boy.

"Boy, which way to Dover?" he gruffly asked.

"I don't know," the child responded, a little embarrassed.

"Well, then," the man demanded, "How far to Brighton?"

"I don't know that either," the child answered.

"Is there someone around here who can give me directions, then?" The man raised his voice.

"I don't know," shrugged the child.

The man's questions got angrier as the boy kept responding with the same answer.

Finally the man lost his temper and shouted, "Well you don't know much, do you!"

Then for the first time, the boy smiled. Looking up the winding road to a little house where the evening light glowed through the window and where his brothers and sisters played in the yard, the boy said, "No...but I'm not the one thats lost!"

As Christians, we don't necessarily have all the answers to life's problems - though the more we study our faith the more answers we find.

Yet, if we stay focused on Christ and close to him, we do have the one Answer that matters most - we know that we are children of God, and his all-powerful love is always watching over us, even during life's storms.

But how can we in the twenty-first century keep focused on Christ?

We won't be able to look into Jesus' physical eyes, as Peter did, until we enter the kingdom of Heaven. But in the meantime we can still keep our eyes fixed on Christ in a couple of very simple ways.

The first way is very obvious..... because you are already doing it! Come to church to see Jesus in the Eucharist and celebrate the mass with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

The second way is also very simple. You can do this very privately and I defy anyone to give me a reason that they cannot do this.

Simply... while doing something relaxing or stop what you are doing and think about or contemplate Jesus. Very simple! Just think of Jesus and give thanks for all the good things in your lives. If your day has been rough ask... “what is it I should learn from these experiences?  And do not expect magical voices in your dreams or thunder claps , just be still and quiet and like Elijah you may simple hear a tiny whisper in the wind.



JENNY said...

Ahhhh...that was much needed and refreshing. Thank you! The story of Peter was also the focus on Sunday at church. Ha! Something I need to look at?? :) Hello lesson for Jenny!!

woodcutter said...

Thanks for reading my post! It does my heart good when I help God inspire people.

Anonymous said...

Really Enjoyed this as well!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this as well....yes, i can relate to st. peter.... :)