Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday word, 10 Aug 14

Going Deeper
19th Sunday of the Year A (10 Aug 2012)
1Kg 19. 9a,11-13a; Ps 85; Rm 9. 1-5; Mt 14. 22-33
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Jesus was practical. When people gathered on a shore to hear him Jesus got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.1 His disciples were practical, too. To get to the other side of a lake they took [Jesus] with them in the boat just as he was....A violent squall came up and waves [broke] over the boat, so that it [filled] up. Jesus [slept]. They woke him…“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”2

Again leaving a lakeside town in a boat, another violent storm befell them. In their fear The disciples…woke [Jesus], saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”3 

Now we heard Jesus and his disciples were in yet another boat in another storm. Jesus saved Peter outside the boat and the disciples in it. When the two of them returned to the boat, the disciples did Jesus homage and said,“Truly, you are the Son of God!”

Its easy to notice the three responses by the disciples are not identical. That makes them worth our attention.
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
“Truly, you are the Son of God!”

More important than their difference is to what their difference points: that the disciples grew to appreciate Jesus and his identity.
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
“Truly, you are the Son of God!”

Each response followed a crisis in their lives. Each response followed being with Jesus a bit longer. The more they had been with Jesus, the more they recognized who he was. The ways they addressed Jesus show us their gradual enlightenment: from Teacher to Lord to God’s son. Their tone of speaking those titles is more revealing and also enlightens us.

They reproached Jesus harshly the first time:
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

The second time they acknowledged Jesus as more than a teacher and implored his help:
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

The third time was a moment of worship.
“Truly, you are the Son of God!”

In the first two I hear their voices screaming over the howling wind and pounding waves. In the third the awe in their quieter voices shattered the stunning silence. The deepening appreciation of the disciples for Jesus and for his identity is one more witness that Jesus is with us. Like the disciples we don’t fully fathom his mystery. Like them Jesus commits himself to us each moment: in the stormy times of our lives and when all seems to go smoothly.

Scripture alone does not deepen our appreciation of Jesus and his identity. Scripture recalls the disciples ways of addressing Jesus; prayer frees us to imagine their voices. Both witness to their deepening intimacy with Jesus: Teacher; Lord; Son of God. In stormy, difficult, uncertain and heart-breaking moments deep affection often registers as reliance: we rely on those committed to us. Weathering those moments with their presence often moves us to deepen our affection and renew our commitment. So does our faith-life invite us to deepen our relationship with Jesus and renew our commitment to him. We do both by personal prayer, public worship and Christian charity and service.

Placing ourselves in this gospel—getting inside it—can move us to ask, Who is Jesus for me? I can hear you say, Jesus is Teacher, Lord and Son of God. Jesus is all three. As all three he is our brother, too, like us in every way save sin.4 If he were not, Christianity may not have lasted thousands of years, especially in crisis times. That he is our brother moves us to draw ever nearer to him in our time.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God.
  • Ask the disciples to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise and thank Jesus for dying and rising for you; consider who Jesus is for you and tell him. How to do that?
  • Notice how you address Jesus:
  • Is Jesus your savior; your redeemer; your creator; your companion; your Lord; your Teacher; your friend?
  • Do you call Jesus by name in your need?
  • Ask Jesus for grace to know him better.
  • Close your time by saying slowing the Lord’s Prayer. Praying his words sincerely gives us his attitude. The more attentive we are to the attitude of Jesus, the more we rely on Jesus. Relying on Jesus allows us to grow closer to him and be his more faithful disciples.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Matthew 13.2.
  2. Mark 4.35-38.
  3. Matthew 8.24-25.
  4. Hebrews 2.17 with 4.15.
Wiki-images of Jesus Stilling the Tempest PD-US and by Andreas Fjellmann of Lake Kinnaret CC BY-SA 3.0

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