sunday issue august 9, 2020
BY VIC N. SUMALINOG
Today is Sunday, August 9, 2020. It is the second Sunday of the month and is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Catholic Church Liturgical Calendar.
This Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm is, “Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.”
The 1st Reading is from 1 Kings 19:19a, 11-13a.
At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave, where he took shelter. Then the Lord said to him, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord, the Lord will be passing by. A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord – but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah had his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
The 2nd Reading is from Romans 9:1-5.
Brothers and sisters: I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarch, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.
This Sunday’s Gospel is from Mathew 14:22-35. It says about Jesus’ walking on the water.
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat already a few miles off shore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Reflection on trusting God:
The prophet Elijah did not leave behind any writing, but the Jews consider him as the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. Elijah appeared with Moses at the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Horeb. Until today, the Jews await the coming of the Messiah who will be preceded by Elijah.
God entrusted Elijah with the difficult mission of bringing the people back to their faith. Most of them had abandoned God and started to worship Baal, an idol brought by the pagan princess Jezebel. Elijah declared a terrible drought that lasted for three and a half years in punishment for the sins of the king and his people.
The drought led to a terrible famine, and King Ahab relied on the prophet’s intervention. Elijah engaged the priests of Baal to a challenge that they lost, resulting in their carnage. Stung to fury, Jezebel swore to have Elijah killed.
The prophet fled to the desert and became a fugitive. Discouraged and exhausted, Elijah wanted to die. God sent him an angel with food and drink and commanded him to climb Mount Horeb. There, as the first reading tells us, God reveals himself to Elijah in a tiny whispering sound.
Indeed the ways of God are gentle and quiet. God is found in every simple detail of life, and not in the spiritual pyrotechnics. God does not force us but allows us to make personal decisions. God does not frighten us because God wants us to obey out of trust and love; out of our faith in Him.
NB: Our profuse thanks to the St. Paul’s Publication, publisher of the book, 365 Days with the Lord, a Liturgical Biblical Diary from where we source the Words of God that we share every Sunday with our fellow faithful and readers of this column.
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