My deepest apologies in not getting this posted until today. I was out of town on Sunday and yesterday I was not feeling well at all.
This is the homily given for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
When given the opportunity, visitors to the Holy Land usually liked to take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, the sea on which Jesus walked. On one occasion, a certain tourist wanted to take such a ride very badly. The boatman told him that the fare would be fifty dollars. “Fifty dollars!” exclaimed the tourist, “No wonder Jesus walked.”
A proper understanding of today’s Gospel story of Jesus walking on the sea can teach us about who Jesus really is, about the Church, and about the life of faith of the individual believer.
The miracle story of Jesus walking on the sea, together with the miracle that immediately preceded it, the multiplicaion of loaves, shows that Jesus is truly Lord. By walking on the raging waters and calming the stormy sea, Jesus is showing himself to be one who has power and total control over all natural and supernatural forces. Only God can perform true miracles.
The boat on the sea is one of the earliest Christian symbols for the Church in its journey through the world. Just as the boat is tossed about by the waves, so the Church is pounded from all sides by wordly and spiritual forces hostile to the kingdom of God. Yet, in the midst of these trials, Jesus comes to strengthen and support his church, as He came to the aid of His disciples, and He will continue to do so until the end of time.
For ourselves too, there is a necessary lesson in this incident. It is that we must continue to trust in Christ and in our loving Father, even when God seems to have deserted us. Most of the troubles and trials of our lives are caused by the injustices and lack of charity of other people. The remainder can be attributed to our own defects and sings or to some weakness in our mental and bodily make up.
Even though God forsees all these misfortunes and could prevent them, He lets them take their course; namely, because they can become the means of educating us, and more importantly, of drawing us into a deeper union with God. This they will do, if we accept them and bear with them until our Lord comes to our aid. It has been said that our troubles in life are like the growing pains of our youth— they are necessary if we are to mature in our relationship with God. They form, mold, and shape our religious character and bring us closer to God— if we allow them to do so. However, for the one who rebels against God because of suffering, they can do the opposite. Such a one cannot accept in faith that there is a higher purpose and value in temporary suffering.
As in the first reading today, God may not be in the tornadoes or earthquakes or roaring fires, nor does he necessarily cause them, but He is ever near to His children when such calamities occur. He has a purpose in every trial or tribulation which crosses the path of our lives, a purpose always to our eternal advantage, if only we will see and accept His will in these trials with faith; if we keep our trust constantly fixed on Jesus and his power to aid us in any circumstance.
God bless you guys. May you have a Spirit-filled, peaceful, and blessed week. See you next Sunday, Lord willing.