Nineteenth Sunday of the Year
1 Kings 19:9 & 11-13; Romans 9: 1-5; Matthew 14: 22-33
“When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into a cave and spent the night in it. He was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord passed by.”
These verses place the prophet Elijah at what, in human terms, must have been the lowest point of his ministry. Faithful to the ministry entrusted to him, he had confronted the idolatry and infidelity of Israel’s northern kingdom. His words had been met with rejection and persecution. Forced to flee as a refugee, he had endured the desolation of the wilderness, his life finally obscured in a remote cave on Israel’s holy mountain. He had felt abandoned by the God to whom he had given his life.
“Lord, I have had enough. Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors.” – 1 Kings 19:4
At a time when the prophet had felt most overwhelmed, God revealed himself as presence that never abandons us, but as a peace waiting to be revealed at the heart of troubled lives.
“Then the Lord himself passed by. There came a mighty wind, then an earthquake, then a fire. And the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire. After the fire came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went to the entrance of the cave.”
In recent months many will have experienced the global pandemic as both turmoil and isolation. With the prophet Elijah we are invited to rejoice in the God whose peace awaits us at the heart of every anxiety.
Matthew’s account of the apostles, battling a heavy sea, and lost in the night, describes an experience that many will face. From their first encounter with Jesus, the apostles had found comfort and healing in his presence. Such comfort had dissolved in the terror of the storm. Peter alone, abandoning the boat, clutched out for a presence that had once seemed so secure. That presence, so much greater than his fears, had never abandoned him.
“Man of little faith, why did you doubt? And as they got into the boat the wind dropped, and they bowed down before him.”
May we always walk with the Lord who brings healing and peace to troubled hearts.
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