19th Sunday in ordinary time


1 Kings 19:9,11-13
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33


In our first reading from 1 Kings, Elijah seeks God in various phenomena; in the tempest, fire, and earthquake.  Buts God is not found there; instead, Elijah finds God in the gentleness of a breeze.  God demonstrates that true strength is to be found in gentleness and grace, not in violence or retribution, a lesson for the people of Israel and for our times, too.

On a similar plane, today’s psalm is a prayer of hope in times of crisis and an assurance of God’s unfailing love.  Life is exuberant, complete again, and in the right relationship with God; shalom is so much more than simply the absence of war and conflict.

And in our Gospel reading, Matthew finds Christ in the midst of the tempest, calming the disciples’ fears and rescuing a frightened Peter. At the time Matthew’s Gospel was written, Christians were being persecuted, and Peter had likely been martyred already.  So again, we find assurances of God’s love and life, even in the most difficult times.

Christ doesn’t promise that discipleship will eliminate our pain and suffering but together with those who stand faithfully at the foot of the cross, Christ will be there for us when our crosses loom.

Brian Norman has been associated with the Passionists in various ways since he was three weeks old when he squared off with Fr Placid Millay CP over the baptismal font at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.