Saturday, August 2, 2014

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time



Year A
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Trust in Jesus

Points to note

This is another vivid account of the powers of Jesus and of faith in him.  As such, there are many images that can be drawn from this passage.  One could also concentrate on the powers of Jesus to calm the sea.  If you choose to concentrate on this image, though, it is recommended that the demonstration of his powers by Jesus should not be taken only as such but the powers are demonstrated to illustrate a requirement of Christian living: that Jesus’ powers are available to us if we but trust in him.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in the heaven and glory in the highest heavens!

Jesus was tired after teaching people.  However, as we have seen last week, people did not leave him alone, and he had to feed five thousand of them.  Now, he is left even more tired and wishes to go away with his friends for some rest.

The Lord be with you.
All:   And also with your spirit.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
All:   Glory to you O Lord
(Mt 14:22-33)
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away.  After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray.  When evening came he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a headwind.  In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified.  “It is a ghost,” they cried out in fear.  But at once, Jesus called out to them, saying, “Courage!  It is I!  Do no be afraid!”  It was Peter who answered, “Lord”, he said, “if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.”  “Come,” said Jesus.  Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink.  “Lord!  Save me!” he cried.  Jesus put out his hands at once and held him.  “Man of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  And as they got out of the boat the wind dropped.  The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

This is the Word of the Lord


Have you ever seen when a baby plays with his parents?  Can you see the baby’s face when his father tosses him up in the air and then catches him again?  Is there any fear?  Discuss how the baby feels safe because he knows that his father will catch him before he falls.  Note the fact that the thought that his father will not catch him does not even cross the baby’s mind.

Discuss how we may have such a personal experience ourselves.  Ever gone into a big crowd like at a football game?  Discuss how the children would hold the hands of the parents tightly so that they will not get lost.  Ever been frightened when going camping?  Discuss how we keep closely to the adults to be safe.  There may be other examples.

Go through the reading and discuss the salient points, bringing out how the various peoples felt at the following points:
·       When Jesus and the disciples went out onto the boat to rest and instead, a storm broke out, were the disciples exasperated at losing their rest in addition to being frightened?  Sometimes, we worry instead of praying.
·       When Jesus decided to go for a walk, were the disciples frightened to see Jesus walking on water?  Who else would walk on water?  Ghosts?  Sometimes, we see the worst in all good things.
·       When Peter wanted to join Jesus walking on water, what was he anticipating (walking on water – come on??!!) and why did you think he wanted to walk on water as well?  Sometimes, we think that faith is easy, and we don’t prepare & pray about the hard part – keeping going with Jesus.
·       When Peter began walking on water, what did he begin to see?  The winds and the waters would seem frightening and he probably began to wonder what he was doing, walking on water!  Sometimes, we get easily distracted when ‘reality’ sets in.
·       When Peter began to sink: why did he sink?  Where do you think he should have kept his eyes if not on the wind and the water?  What was his reaction?  Sometimes, we only reach out to Jesus after we get into trouble.
·       When Jesus hauled him back into the boat, what did Peter think?  What did the other disciples think of Jesus and Peter?  Sometimes, we wonder what could have been if we had that little more courage.
Discuss the lessons of this reading: that to do anything, we must keep our faith in Jesus, keep our eyes on him at all times and do everything that he wants us to do, the way he wants us to do it.

A little story
A man went mountain climbing.  As he climbed, suddenly he slipped and fell down a very steep cliff.  With no other hope, he closed his eyes, called out, “God, help me!” held out his hand and grabbed the only branch growing out of the face of the cliff.  As he was hanging there by that one little branch, he looked down the cliff and saw the bottom a long way off.  So, he looked up and shouted, “Anyone up there?”  A booming voice replied, “Yes.”  With relief, the climber shouted, “Can you help me?”  The booming voice replied, “Yes, I can help you but you must trust me.  Do you trust me?”  The climber shouted, “Of course I trust you!”  The booming voice continued, “If you trust me, you must do everything I tell you to do.”  Exasperated, the climber shouted, “Of course I trust you and I will do whatever you want me to do: just get me out of here!”  The booming voice said, “Let go of that branch!”  The climber looked down and then looked up and then shouted, “Anyone else up there?”
You may laugh, but what would you have said?

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