19th Sunday OTA


1 Kg 19:9, 11-13; Rom 9:1-5; Matt 14:22-33

Once there was a millionaire who collected live alligators. He kept them in the pool in the back of his mansion. The millionaire also had a beautiful daughter who was single. One day he decided to throw a huge party, during which he announced: “My dear guests, I have a proposition to every man here. I will give $1 million or my daughter to the man that can swim across this pool full of alligators and emerge unharmed!”  As soon as he finished his last word there was the sound of a large splash!  There was one guy in the pool swimming with all his might, the crowd cheered him on as he kept stroking. Finally, he made it to the other side unharmed. The millionaire was impressed and said, “My boy that was incredible! Fantastic! I did not think it could be done! Well, I must keep my end of the bargain. Which do you want, my daughter or the $1 million?”  The guy replied, “Listen, I don’t want your money! And I don’t want your daughter! I want the person who pushed me into that water!”

Dear Friends! Last Sunday we reflected on how one can make a difference and one individual is important. Every person counts. This week let us see what cripples or block someone/anyone from taking one step forward! One of the stumbling block is: Fear. We are afraid to face the challenges, afraid to risk our lives, We are afraid that we may lose what we have. Fear of course, is a healthy thing when it motivates us to protect ourselves from some threat to the well being of ourselves or of those we love. Fear stimulates us emotionally to prepare for fight or flight. But a lot of people are consumed by fears that are groundless, irrational, or certain things we can do nothing about except pray. Pope John Paul II, his message to the Church and the world at the beginning of his long pontificate are the words we hear in today’s gospel: “Be not afraid.” Jesus tells you and me the same message:  “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

In early days of sailing, a boy went to sea to learn to be a sailor.  One day when the sea was stormy, he was told to climb to the top of the mast. The first half of the climb was easy. The boy kept his eyes fixed on the sky. But halfway to the top, he made a mistake. He looked down at the stormy waters..He grew dizzy and was in danger of falling. An old sailor called out to him: “Look bact to the sky, boy! Look back to the sky!” The boy followed the old man’s instruction and finished the climb safely.

The boy’s mistake was the same one Peter made in today’s gospel. He took his eyes off his goal and looked down at the stormy sea, just as Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked down at the stormy sea.  This is what often happens to you and me. We start off our lives fine. We have our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus. But then something happens to make us take our eyes off Jesus. We look away from Jesus. And that’s when we lose our balance. That’s when we  begin to sink.

A man said, “I thought when I got older I’d have fewer temptations. Instead, I have more.” A woman said, “I thought when the kids grew up, I’d have more patience. Instead, I have less.” A teenager said, “I used to find it easy to obey God’s law. Now I find it harder and harder.” Do any of these statement describe you? Do you find yourself tempted frequently? Do you find yourself impatient with loved ones? Do you find it harder and harder to obey God’s law?  Today’s gospel reading invites us to take an honest look at our lives If we don’t experience the spiritual peace and joy we once did, maybe it’s because we have taken our eyes off Jesus.

If we find ourselves in danger of being swallowed up by the storm waves of life, maybe it’s because we have turned away from Jesus. The story of Jesus walking on the seas, especially the involvement of Peter in the story, is a lesson for disciples who are tempted to take their eyes off Jesus and to take more notice of the threatening circumstances around them. While Peter kept his eye fixed on Jesus, and his mind focussed on Jesus’ word, he walked upon the water all right; but when he took notice of the danger he was in, and focussed on the waves, then he became afraid and began to sink. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).May the Lord increase our little faith so that in all the storms of life we shall have our eyes and our trust constantly fixed on Jesus and his power and not on ourselves and our weaknesses.