19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

I Confess:

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

 

Gloria:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, Heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us; You take away the sin of the world, receive our prayer; You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are the Lord. You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God, the Father. Amen

 

Opening Prayer:

God of all power, your sovereign word comes to us in Christ. When your Church is in danger, make firm our trust; when your people falter, steady our faith. Show us in Jesus your power to save, that we may always acclaim him as Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

 

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a

At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. Then the Lord said to him, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord-but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake-but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire-but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

 

Responsorial: Psalm: 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
 
R. Lord let us see your kindness and grant us your salvation.
 
I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD—for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.
 
R. Lord let us see your kindness and grant us your salvation.
 
Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.
 
R. Lord let us see your kindness and grant us your salvation.
 
The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him and prepare the way of his steps.
 
R. Lord let us see your kindness and grant us your salvation.
 

Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5

Brothers and sisters: I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for His word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33

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

 

Homily:

I would like to reflect with you on the first reading and probably a passing by comment on the gospel. The first reading taken from the first book of the kings, where we see a great prophet of all time Elijah meeting up with God on the mount Sinai/Horeb. Let me give a little bit of background for the better understanding of the reading. Elijah had a fierce conflict with Ahab the king and Jezebel the queen. The queen vowed herself to kill Elijah. Thus, he runs away literally to save his life. He runs into the desert and hides in a cave to save himself but paradoxically there he prays and wishes that he might die. He puts out a loud lamentation to God; his words were full of despair; He's battling against the King, against the Queen, and more so against his own people. He feels abandoned by everyone including the God in whom he believed. He had nothing to wish for except death. He looks up at God and says, “Enough is enough. I am tired. I am weary. Take my life. I do not want to continue. I have nothing to hope for.

This is he context in which God promises to show Himself to say that he is not alone. He is not alone in the turmoil of life rather God is there to go with him. God asks Elijah to come out of the Cave in which you felt comfortable. Come out and see me: my presence is with you. You are not alone I am here to support you and to go with you, just come out of your cave.

In the reading, we are told about dramatic events taking place at the mouth of the cave. There was a heavy wind that split the rocks; Elijah expected to see God there; God was not in it. There was great earthquake and he expected to see Him there, but God was not in it. Followed by a great burning fire and God was not in it. Wind, earthquake, and fire were the usual or traditional means the God had been revealing Himself to anyone in the scripture. Now they are empty. He comes out to see what is going on and why God is not found in them. Instead God reveals Himself in a “mysterious silence” a “gentle silence.” He come in a way that he did not expect. Elijah hears God in a “tiny whispering sound,” a small voice. Once he got out of the cave and hears God, his life got changed. He was not haunted by the miseries of life anymore. He draws new strength, a new approach towards his life, because he was sure that God was with him, the still voice was with him.

In so many ways, Elijah’s experience can be like our own. I have had it enough and I cannot take it anymore. I am literally at the end of my rope. I want to run away. We all carry within little bit of if not lot of Elijah’s feelings and despair in life at times. At some point in our lives we may have expected God to give us direction by showing us some miraculous “sign; but it doesn’t happen as we expected. The Lord may not be in the fire, or the wind, and there may not be a great earthquake as a sign of His presence in our lives, but if we are willing to listen for Him, listen for that whisper of His voice. Look out. It may not be coming from an expected side; it might come from an unexpected corner as in the case of Elijah. One must be ready to take a courageous step out of one’s cave and look for His presence coming from an unexpected direction.

Let me leave you with a short comment on the gospel. Couple of days back in one of our virtual catechism we reflected on the gospel, where peter begins to walk on the water. I asked the class, “Why to walk on water?” Probably Peter was safe on the boat; why should he jump into water? Why to walk on water? One of them said, “Peter was safer with Jesus.” Yes, it is better to be there where Jesus is than where He is not. One is safer with Jesus. His hands hold us up. For this one needs to jump out of the boat like peter; one must come out of the cave like Elijah.

 

Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

Prayers of Faithful:

For the successors of Peter and the Apostles: as they proclaim Christ’s truth, for a steady course through the stormy seas of moral and political confusion.
 
Lord Hear Us.
 
For governments: that they will attend to the common good and the advancement of the poor; for the elimination of nuclear arms and effective control of firearms.
 
Lord Hear Us.
 
For honesty and morality in public and in private life; for the mutual support of employers and employees; and for our brothers and sisters in search of employment.
 
Lord Hear Us.
 
That we may learn to discern the voice of God, not in wind and earthquake and fire, but in the gentle whisper that announces His passing by.
 
Lord Hear Us.
 
For all who are fearful, anxious, depressed, or grieving, that they may hear the firm and kind voice of Jesus saying to them: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid”
 
Lord Hear Us.
 
For those who are sick or suffering, that they may be healed and our faithful departed may be with God on the mountain of His glory.
 
Lord Hear Us.
 
Let us pray in silence (Pause)
 
Lord Hear Us.

 

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

Concluding Prayer:

Through the storms of life, O God, you are with your people in the person of Jesus your Son. Calm our fears and strengthen our faith that we may never doubt his presence among us but proclaim that he is your Son, risen from the dead, living for ever and ever. Amen

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