Cycle (A) 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs. 19:9, 11-13; Rom. 9:1-5; Mt. 14:22-33

It is our common experience that when we face certain unexpected problems, our first reaction is, “Lord save me.”

Some 850 years before Jesus was born there appeared in the Kingdom of Israel an extraordinary man, Elijah. As a punishment for the sins of the king and his people, the prophet announced a terrible drought. It lasted for three and a
half years causing famine everywhere. The revengeful queen swore to do away with Elijah. Then He fled to mount Horeb. Fearing for his life, he called upon the Lord to save him. The Israelites, while they were in trouble called upon the Lord to save them. And Peter, fearing for his life during a moment of human weakness, called upon the Lord to save him. Our forefathers called upon the Lord to save them. Our grandparents called upon the Lord to save them. Our parents call upon the Lord to save them. And we call upon the Lord to save us when we are beset with problems.  Whenever we call upon God, He is beside us to help us. But often we fail to recognize God’s hand in those excruciating events.

Today’s Gospels tells us that after feeding the five thousand, Jesus ordered His disciples to get into a boat and cross to the other side, to Capernaum. 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.

The disciples got upset, because they were unable to recognize Jesus. Whenever we get upset for something, it will always be because we fail to recognize Jesus in the events.
A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to PUSH against the rock with all his might.

So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might! Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind.  Satan said, 'You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't moved.' Thus he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
'Lord,' he said, 'I have laboured long and hard in Your Service, putting all my strength to do that which You have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimetre. What is wrong?  Why am I failing?' The Lord responded compassionately, 'My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.  And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed... But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and brown. Your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Your calling was to be Obedient and to push. That you have done.
When everything seems to go wrong . . . . . . . . . . . . . Just P.U.S.H.
When the job gets you down....................................... Just P.U.S.H.
When people don't do as you think they should.......... Just P.U.S.H.
When your money is 'gone' and the bills are due........ Just P.U.S.H.
When people just don't understand you......................  Just P.U.S.H.
Recognize the presence of God, in every event, and hold on. You will hear the tremendous powerful words of Jesus, “courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.

Often our trouble is that we do not stop to listen to the words of Jesus in the midst of our worries. The disciples saw Jesus walking towards them. Whenever we are in trouble, too, Jesus is walking towards us. He is never far from us.  He is walking towards us to take away our fears, to take away our troubles, to take away our sorrows. There is a beautiful poem by an unknown poet.

Two Boxes

I have in my hands two boxes
which God gave me to hold
he said, “Put all your sorrows in the black
and all your joys in the gold

I heeded his words, and in the two box
both my joys and sorrows I store
but though the gold became heavier each day
the black was as light as before

With curiosity I opened the black
I wanted to find out why
and I saw in the base of the box a hole
which my sorrows had fallen out by

I showed the hole to God, and mused aloud,
I wonder where my sorrows could be
He smiled a gentle smile at me
My child they’re all here with Me

I asked, “God, why give me the boxes,
why the gold without, and black with the hole?”
“My child the gold is for you to count your blessings,
the black is for you to let go.”

When Peter found that Jesus was walking towards them, he cried out “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.” Peter expressed a desire to imitate what the master was doing. This is what is expected of us too. To imitate the life of Jesus. To show compassion to our brothers and sisters, as did Jesus. When they were hungry, Jesus fed them. When they were distressed Jesus comforted them. When they were troubled by illness, Jesus cured them.

Peter started to imitate his master with great enthusiasm, but as he felt the force of the wind he began to sink. He was not able to sustain in his attempt to imitate Jesus, for long. When doubts overtook him, he began to sink. Even then Peter showed his absolute trust in Jesus. He shouted, ‘Lord Save me.” When we too feel the force of pressure from the society, the force of pressure from the contemporary customs, the force of pressure from the materialistic attitude towards life we too give up our enthusiasm to imitate Jesus, and sink like Peter.  But, in our troubled moments our prayer too should be “Lord save us.” Jesus will put out his hands to hold us.