Scripture Reflection, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 13, 2023
1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a Romans 9:1-5 Matthew 14:22-33
Both the prophet Elijah and the apostle Peter experience “theophanies” in today’s readings. These can be defined as “manifestations of the divine”. Both men are being summoned by God…summoned to do some great work. Both have shown a willingness to serve God; however, each, in his own way, has encountered difficulties…each has had his faith tested, and found it lacking. Elijah has traveled many miles to escape those who are trying to kill him because he is a messenger of God. Truth be told, they don’t like his message!
Peter has said “yes” to being a disciple of Jesus and wants to get closer to him, both literally and figuratively. When Jesus calls Peter to come to him across the water, Peter jumps out of the boat and begins to walk on the water. At first, he must be astounded that he is able to do so! But then he is overcome by fear, and he begins to sink.
At various times in my life I have made a commitment to God, or to someone else whom I love - only to renege on it when the going gets tough - perhaps because I have become weary, or perhaps because I have become afraid.
In those times, I would do well to remember that the Lord is with me, standing in front of me and beckoning me to move forward…offering me a helping hand. Our loving God is frequently to be found in that “still small voice” in the wind, or the “strong yet gentle hand” reaching out from within the storms of life. God leads us forward with unconditional love and care - and will never abandon us!
Both Elijah and Peter pause long enough to pray, and to listen to the wisdom of God’s reply. There’s a lesson in that!
What challenges in my life today (or this coming week) do I need to give over to God in prayer; having faith in God’s response?
by Bill Miller