Reflections

Tuesday of 18th Week of the Year, August 02, 2022

Lord, If It Is You, Command Me To Come
Introduction
The prophet Jeremiah first reminds the people of the punishment for their infidelity, but then he opens the perspectives to a beautiful restoration, when Israel shall be again God’s people and God will be their God.
The symbolism of the gospel narrative is very strong. Water is evil, which swallows up. Jesus, the Lord, is mightier. He invites the disciple and the whole Church to take the risk of faith of following him. Faith is insecure by itself; we have to pass through the storms of life between faith and fear. But the Lord is there, unseen: It is I, I am with you. Do not be afraid.
 
Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
there is a constant tension in us
between fear and faith
as we are battling with the winds and the waves
that threaten our faithfulness to the gospel.
Make us accept, Lord,
that faith is never secure
or acquired once and for all.
Make it grow in us day after day,
that we may not be faint-hearted
but resolutely follow your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: JEREMIAH 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22
The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book. For thus says the LORD: Incurable is your wound, grievous your bruise; There is none to plead your cause, no remedy for your running sore, no healing for you. All your lovers have forgotten you, they do not seek you. I struck you as an enemy would strike, punished you cruelly; Why cry out over your wound? your pain is without relief. Because of your great guilt, your numerous sins, I have done this to you. Thus says the LORD: See! I will restore the tents of Jacob, his dwellings I will pity; City shall be rebuilt upon hill, and palace restored as it was. From them will resound songs of praise, the laughter of happy men. I will make them not few, but many; they will not be tiny, for I will glorify them. His sons shall be as of old, his assembly before me shall stand firm; I will punish all his oppressors. His leader shall be one of his own, and his rulers shall come from his kin. When I summon him, he shall approach me; how else should one take the deadly risk of approaching me? says the LORD. You shall be my people, and I will be your God.
 
Responsorial PSALM 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 AND 22-23
R. (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
 
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer. R.
 
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.” R.
 
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared on Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. R.
 
Alleluia JOHN 1:49B
Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: MATTHEW 14:22-36
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, 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 offshore, 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.” 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.” After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.
 
Commentary
Love That Impels
Was Peter foolish to have ventured into the waters, while Jesus was anyway coming towards the boat? Weren’t the other disciples more prudent, practical, and sensible? The only answers I can think of are what St. Paul spoke of the foolishness of the cross vs the wisdom of the world (cf. 1 Cor 1:18; 3:19) and the holy madness of the lover who is out there searching for the beloved in the Song of Songs. Despite all his shortcomings, there is no denying that Peter loved the Lord. And when love comes alive and the heart goes out to the Beloved, can the body hold back? Such an adventure sets Peter up for a unique experience with the Lord, an experience that was denied to the other disciples due to their “safety-first” approach. And Peter would jump out of the boat again, this time with no doubts or care for drowning, when the Risen Lord comes visiting (cf. Jn 21:7).
 
Intercessions
– For the Church, when it has to pass through difficult moments of persecution, ridicule or inner conflict, that it may keep trusting in the Lord, we pray:
– For Christians beset by doubts or facing hard decisions of conscience, that they may see the hand Jesus extends to them, we pray:
– For people who have to do dangerous work, that the Lord may protect them we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
You wish to reassure us,
Lord our God,
how much you are with us
through him who is our food and drink,
your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him, give us the power
to walk the stormy road of faith
and to take the risks of love,
that we may overcome our fears
and make his reassuring word
the foundation of our life and work
now and till the end of time. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
Our all-powerful God,
you invite us through Jesus, your Son,
to leave our timid security
and to come across the water with him
in commitment to you and to our neighbor.
Even though we do not see his hand
put out to us and holding us,
give us enough faith to be certain
that with him we shall overcome
and build up your future in our human world,
until he leads us across to you,
our God for ever and ever. Amen!
 
Blessing
“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” says Jesus. He is with us in our struggles, for he will never desert us. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *