Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Matthew 14: 22 -33

Prayer
Your Word is near, O Lord our God. Your grace is near. Come to us then, with mildness and power. Do not let us be deaf to you, but make us receptive and open to Jesus Christ your Son, who will come to look for us and save us today and every day forever and ever.

23After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was alone.”

I invite you to do as Jesus did. Go into an atmosphere of prayer.

We are invited to imitate Jesus. Set time aside to be quiet and alone with your God just as Jesus is doing in this reading. Come into the presence of God. Welcome God into your room. Invite him to sit down and have a chat. Prayer is a conversation and it is Jesus who should do the most talking.

We hear him speaking to us when we listen to the divine sayings, read the scriptures.

Listen for the message that God has for you. It is useful to note that your first insight is almost certainly not the message that God has for you. When you feel sure you have heard God speak, respond to Him in prayer.

Take time now to read this text. I have indicated in colour some phrases that you may find touch you.

Mt 14: 22 – 33
22Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was alone. 24Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 25During the fourth watch of the night, he came towards them walking on the sea. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost” they said, and they cried out in fear. 27At once (Jesus) spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, Come. Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water towards Jesus. 30But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened: and, beginning to sink. He cried out, Lord, save me!31Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? 32After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 33Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

The boat was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. How true this was for Matthew’s community?

At the time of writing, Matthew’s Christian Community, was being ‘tossed on the waves’ of religious persecution and by internal divisions. They had been expelled from the synagogues which meant that they had lost their businesses and jobs. Some favoured allowing pagans to become Christians and others were strongly against this. Matthew writes to strengthen their trust in Christ, Risen.

As we live out our lives there are times when we too feel that we are in the middle of a storm. Just as Jesus’ disciples came to realise that he was with them so, we too, are assured in this reading that Jesus is with us. He comes towards us walking on the sea. In the Book of Job we read, “God .. treads upon the crests of the waves.” There is no need for fear, our God repeats again and again, “Come. Come. Come to me! Do not doubt me. Come. Come” Hear; repeat, these words over and over.

“Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Peter prayed, “Lord, save me.” Look at Jesus’ immediate response.   Recall the times when you prayed in such desperation. Now you are able to see that just when you thought all was lost Jesus was there with an outstretched hand. In your imagination place yourself once again in a similar situation and pray fervently, “Lord. Save me.”

Let us pray.
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” (Ps 60: 1 – 3)

And God answers, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you.” (Is 43: 1 – 2)

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