XIX SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
1 kings 19:9a, 11-13a; romans 9:1-5; matthew 14:22-33
br patrick nshamdze, director of st joseph’s catholic hospital in liberia, died last saturday of ebola. fr miguel parajes, dr kent brantly and nancy writebol, are fighting for their lives after contracting ebola while treating infected patients in liberia. nancy’s husband, david (who’s still in liberia) imagines he should be beside himself with worry but instead finds «in a very real and unexpected way... the peace and the comfort of GOD.»
these are but few heroes who have stepped out to care for ebola victims. they did not need to risk their lives. they did.
today’s readings feature two heroes, who stepped out… on the strength of GOD’s word.
the first reading presents elijah.
elijah confronted the infidelity of the monarchy, and destroyed the false prophets of baal. then, overwhelmed by fatigue, he wanted to give up. but strengthened by GOD’s food and word, he journeyed to horeb where he encountered the LORD… in a still small voice. this encounter strengthened him to continue his mission.
elijah did not need to leave the comfort of his homeland tishbe. he obeyed GOD and stepped out on his word.
the gospel features peter and his walk upon the water.
in the midst of the storm, the disciples encountered JESUS, who calmed their fears. the impetuous peter dared to get out into the stormy seas.
peter did not need to get out of the boat. he did… on the strength of the LORD’s word.
elijah and peter (and patrick, miguel, kent, nancy and david) show us what happens when we respond to the LORD’s call: we triumph over the forces of chaos and meaninglessness; his power lifts us up and allows us to weather the storms of life.
which boats do i need to step out? on which stormy waters does the LORD call me to walk? will i risk stepping out on the word of GOD?
- risk, because i have a GOD who watches over me;
- trust, because i have a GOD who cares for me;
- step out because i have a GOD who saves me.