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Nineteenth Sunday - Year A

Sunday, 13 August, 2017
Matthew 14:22-33

The Word of God this Sunday, the nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time - calls us to steadfastness and fidelity in following the Lord through the ups and downs of our little life spans.  He never abandons us - even if sometimes we are tempted to believe that his eye has wandered away from us.

The exquisite passage from the First Book of Kings in the Old Testament assures us that God is much more likely to make himself present in our lives in a way that is light, ordinary, and almost imperceptible, than he is likely to storm in with dramatic thunderbolts and visible displays of his power.  It takes insight borne of prayer, wholeness, and love to be able to perceive his presence and action in our lives.

In the second reading from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans, we hear Paul, who has been chastised and ostracised by fellow Jews because he became a Christian, responding to that hurt with perfect Christian self-emptying love.  He assures them that he loves them so much he would even surrender salvation for himself if that would help them to be saved.  This self-sacrificing love is what we are called to ourselves and is what we see perfectly patterned for us by God himself on the tree of Calvary.

In the Gospel of Matthew today the first apostles, and we ourselves in our time, are taught that it is faith in Christ alone that can save us from going under and from being lost for ever.  As soon as poor Peter loses sight of Jesus and focusses only on the stormy seas he starts to sink, but as soon as his heart and mind turns to thoughts of Jesus as his Saviour he sets the Lord free to hold is hand and to hold him up. 

This simple story is a beautiful teaching on how we are rescued from the damage of sin and the certainty of death - not by our own efforts or by any other earthly power - but only by humble, trustful, love for Jesus as our friend, our brother, our Lord, our God, and our Saviour.

Whether we are on calm waters right now or battling heavy seas and storms, the Holy Gospel today is calling on us to keep our hearts and minds on Jesus as our only Saviour.  Like Saint Peter did that day on the waters, we too are reminded to call out Jesus’ name with faith, hope, and love in our prayer every day, in the way that we live our lives, and in the way we try to lift up and save others too.

- Fr Conor Cunningham PP

Lisdoonvarna, Kilshanny and Doolin