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Sunday, August 09, 2020

Life storm teaches value of God's presence says Fr. Ebido - ITREALMS

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 9/20) 

Your Daily Blessing: May the Lord empower you not just to rebuke, but to ‘ride the storms’ in your life! Amen.

Narration: The sailors who ply the high seas as a way of life assures us that there are no seas without storms even if they may spend days at sea without one. And so is our life. 

Some of us will go through the sea of our lives with a minimal number of troubles or storms, while for others, it is like they have to dwell endlessly in troubled waters. 

Just as there are very turbulent seas, like the sea of Galilee, there are people whose lives are full of storms and troubles. So, since everybody will have to deal with storms in our lives, what should be our attitude? 

Before answering, let us be mindful that “storms” are not merely a metaphor pointing to difficulties of life directed to individuals, but also whole groups and communities: families, communities, nations, and in fact, the world as a whole – like global experiences (health pandemics, world wars).

All of them have same solution, though method may differ. 

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Sermon: In the first reading (1 Kgs 19: 9a, 11-13a), prophet Elijah was going through a very terrible ‘storm’ – Jezebel swore to take his life after he decimated the prophets of Baal on mount Carmel. He ran to Mount Horeb for safety – he took refuge in the Lord’s presence. It was a long journey, but he knew its value. 

In the Gospel (Matt 14: 22-33), the disciples of Jesus were battling a violent storm all night without the Lord. Remember their last experience was when Jesus was ‘with them’ but ‘sleeping’ on the stern of the boat! (Mark 4:38). 

This time, he was not with them but came to them in the fourth watch of the night walking on the sea. 

A good teacher will give his or her students a ‘test’ and allow them to ‘struggle’ with it. Eventually, they grow to be better ‘problem solvers’ through their experience. The Lord does the same with us (some more, some less) depending on what he wants to accomplish in us. He made his disciples ‘go ahead’ of him to ‘meet’ a second level of ‘storm test’ – one without his physical presence. 

In the first test, he woke up to rebuke the storm, this time, he was ‘riding the storm’ or walking on the Sea itself! He wants to teach them that they can not only ‘rebuke’ the storm, as he did, but ride it as well as he did. 

Peter was the one who got the message. He succeeded, but only for a while. His fears, arising from his human frailties, got a better of him. He lost his focus on the Lord. In every storm, we must never lose focus on the Lord if we want to overcome. 

In fact, sometimes all a storm teaches us is to ‘feel’ God’s absence so we can value his ‘presence’ more. He then invites us not only to learn to rebuke the storm in his name, but also to learn to see ‘storms’ as an opportunity to exercise our faith – to walk on water buoyed by the power of the Lord!

Prayer: Dear Lord, the storms of my life sometimes make me doubt your nearness and your love for me. Forgive my distrust. Please deepen my faith to see the ‘storms’ of life as opportunities for deeper bonding with you. Amen

🙏🏽©️Fr Augustine Ebido, O.P.

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