It may be popular these days to pick and choose what we believe and like about the Church, but is that going to help us get to heaven? Christ invites each of us, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” The Christian way of life is not a life of self-indulgence and easy living. It is the hard way, the way of the Cross.
God has done many great things for us. This ultimately includes bringing us with Him to Heaven when He ascended. In our daily life we are reminded of His love for us, and our obligation to Him for such a great gift.
You may wonder why the Church chooses a particular reading for each Sunday. You may even have noticed that on particular days throughout the year, the reading is always the same. Then again, you may never have thought about which reading is chosen, but we should all know that it is not random.
When Our Lord spoke these words from the Prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," He declared, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Today God reminds us that everything we have hoped for from God, has been fulfilled in His presence.
When the storms of life seem unbearable and you feel the waves crashing over your head, you might feel like your sinking and that you may never make it out of the storm. At just that moment, remember the love and presence of God in your life, and remember the lesson of Peter walking on the water as told in Matthew 14.22-34. So long as Peter remained focused on Christ, he was able to stay above the waves. When he focused on the severe storm, fear took over and he began to sink because he took his eyes off Christ. Stay focused and stay afloat.
In this morning’s Gospel we hear fear in the voices of the Apostles. As they were crossing the sea a great storm began to toss their boat around like a toy being played with in the bath. It was the middle of the night and Jesus had sent them ahead the evening before so that He could dismiss the crowd. Alone in the storm tossed boat they saw something in the distance. “It is a ghost!” (Matthew 14.26) Their fear had blinded them, and they did not recognize Jesus. Trying to comfort them, Jesus said, “Be of good cheer. It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14.27)
O Lord our God and Creator, who has honored us men and women with Your own image; who has taught Your elect, so that most wise are they who give heed to Your teaching; who reveals wisdom unto babes; who has imparted Your teaching unto Solomon and unto all who have sought Your wisdom: Open the hearts, the minds, and the lips of these Your servants, that they may receive the power of the law, and successfully apprehend the useful precepts which shall be taught them, to the glory of Your All-Holy Name, to the profit and building up of Your Holy Church, and that they may understand Your good an
In today’s Gospel we see another miracle of Christ, this time by feeding thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and a couple fish. According to the Gospel more than 5000 ate enough so their stomachs were filled and still there was bread and fish left over. Today’s I don’t want so much to focus on the feeding miracle as much as the interaction between Christ and His Disciples.
We have all experienced that moment when we asked God why He didn’t help us. It could have been when someone we loved was very sick, or as has been the case too often lately, yet another mindless mass-shooting in our society. We continue to pray that God would “do something” but it often seems like He chooses rather to sit back. Our experience seems to be in direct conflict with what we hear in the Gospel, when it seems that at every turn God heals and ‘makes everything OK’ for those hurting. Why didn’t God help us?
In today’s Gospel lesson we see not one, but two times that God healed someone. The first example was when two blind men came to Jesus crying out to Him, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 9.27) As Jesus healed them He said, “According to your faith let it be to you,” (Matthew 9.28) and they were healed. The second example was when these same men, now that they could see and believed in the power of Jesus to heal, brought a man with a demon to Jesus.