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Sunday, August 9, 2020

A Homily - The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – 1 Kings 19:9, 11-13 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85):9-14 ©
Second Reading – Romans 9:1-5 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14
Alternative Acclamation – Psalm 129:5
The Gospel According to Matthew 14:22 - 33 ©


The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


God, the creator of the universe: God is not a maker of kings. God is not a general leading armies. God does not desire sacrifices of flesh and blood.

God, the creator of the universe is a god of love and mercy, of justice and compassion, of humility.

Consider the words of the psalmist and know that all things belong to God:, all lands, all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; everything and everyone that is in them.

God did not end the captivity of Jacob, the tribe of Jacob did.

This is not hubris. What is hubris is thinking that God loves a special people above all others, and that God would do for them things that God would not do for others, not the understanding that the Israelites escaped their bondage in Egypt under their own power.

Know this:

God was never angry or indignant with the people, it is not due to God’s anger that people suffer. God does not rescue us from our plight or from the miseries of the world; that is for us to do, we must rescue ourselves and deliver the other.

Be mindful!

There are no individuals, there are no families, no tribes, no clans, there are no nations of whom it may be said that God loves them more than any other people.

Do not chase after vanities, trust in the judgement of God, trust in God’s plan for creation, trust that God loves everyone and desires their salvation.

Have faith that God will accomplish what God wills.

Remember this, God is not king, or a lord.

The creator of the universe does not wear a crown.

We do not seek glory as we struggle on the way toward salvation.

As we follow the way of Jesus we seek out the lowest of the low, not the highest heaven, we seek to serve those in the deepest dark and return them to the light of love.

God, creator of the universe, God is patient, loving and kind. God is merciful and just, God is humble and desires that we emulate the divine in these ways

Learn from God; become like God, loving, merciful, patient, humble, just and a blessing to all.

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

Bear in mind that the events it describes never happened.

This myth is a metaphor.

It is intended to communicate the idea that Jesus is not merely the Son of God, but the king of the gods. In it Jesus is depicted as master of the storm and lord of the deep, like other God-Kings, in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean region.

The image of Jesus walking on water, abating the winds, mastering the weather, and calming the storm, is analogous to the triumph of Zeus over the sea monster Typhon, or Marduk over the forces of Chaos represented in the dragon Tiamat.

In the reading for today Jesus is depicted as triumphant over the same forces, walking over the water just as Zeus and Marduk stood over the bodies of their vanquished foes in victory.
The myth is also intended to convey that the early church, represented by Simon Peter, was not entirely comfortable with this narrative, though it set aside its fears and embraced it nonetheless. In this metaphor Peter is the Church (Peter is always the church in Matthew’s Gospel), and the Church has been shaken by the death of Jesus.

Jesus had disappeared, returning only as an apparition. Peter moves toward the ghostly figure seeking to embrace it, but he is terrified and begins to lose heart. Peter does not know if they can transform the life and death of his friend and teacher into the grandiose and spectacular narrative that the people who had followed Jesus, who were now following him and the disciples into the narrative that they are hungry for.

In the end Peter embraces the mythology, the church sets aside the historical Jesus and embraces it too, in so doing the chaos that was shaking their movement in the wake of the crucifixion settles down. The mythological narrative is advanced and Jesus rises from the dead, he is no longer an ordinary man, the rabbi from Galilee; he is the Son of God, he is Christ the King.

Peter understood that in this way the church would survive, the storms would abate, if he and the others could convince people to believe this above all other things.

The Lord was Not in the Wind, or the Earthquake, or the Fire

When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85):9-14 ©

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
  a voice that speaks of peace.
His help is near for those who fear him
  and his glory will dwell in our land.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
  justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
  and justice look down from heaven.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

The Lord will make us prosper
  and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
  and peace shall follow his steps.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Second Reading – Romans 9:1-5 ©

I Would Willingly be Condemned if it Could Help My Brothers

What I want to say now is no pretence; I say it in union with Christ – it is the truth – my conscience in union with the Holy Spirit assures me of it too. What I want to say is this: my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood. They were adopted as sons, they were given the glory and the covenants; the Law and the ritual were drawn up for them, and the promises were made to them. They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen.

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!


Alleluia, alleluia!

My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word.


The Gospel According to Matthew 14:22 - 33 ©

Jesus Walks on the Water

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. 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 said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’

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