1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13; Ps 85:9-14; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22
As I have prayed and sought the Holy Spirit about these readings and only two themes come to me. I think I am being converted to keep things simple. In 1 Kings, Elijah took shelter in a cave on the mountain. God told him to go outside for he was going to pass by. God was not in the strong and heavy wind. Nor was he in the earthquake or the fire. God passed by in a tiny whispering wind.
We all have an internal hunger for God that he put there. Yet in all the noise of the world around us we cannot see or hear God speaking to us. Find some quiet place where you can "turn off" all the noise of the world and wait for that tiny wind of God that can "kiss us with Love," as he passes by.
If we go to adoration in a parish, we can pray rosaries, read a book or daydream. We can fill the time with our talking. God doesn’t have a chance to speak to us. And perhaps we think he will not. Have we quieted our mind and heart to allow Jesus to speak to us and hold us in his arms? Sometimes he "wounds" our heart with his love. Wait and listen. If we are wounded with his love there are often no words to describe the experience.
I didn’t talk about the gospel and its Eucharistic implication last week because I was more focused on the water theme in Isaiah 55. The gospels generally follow in order and last week the gospel talked about Jesus feeding five thousand men, not counting the women and children. This week’s section follows with Jesus dismissing the crowd and sending his disciples in a boat to the other side of the lake.
He went up the mountain alone to commune with his heavenly Father. At the third watch of the night — in Roman time that meant between 3 and 6 a.m. Three a.m. is considered by some the morning mercy hour to pray. In the midst of a strong storm, Jesus approached them, walking on the water. They were all frightened, thinking he was a ghost. "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." To test this sight, impetuous Peter asked to come to Jesus on the water. As he began to walk on the water in the wind, he began to doubt and sank. Jesus grasped Peter by the hand and pulled him up. They then got into the boat.
I see two "morals" here. First, thank God we don’t all have to get out of the boat to walk in water. The other eleven did not.
Second, Jesus took authority over the bad weather. I believe Jesus has also given us that power over negative forces. I lived near New Orleans for some 5 years and often before hurricanes the parishioners prayed a lot. On a number of occasions (especially at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, at various summer conferences when the weather was threatening the conference) I covered myself with the protective Blood of Jesus. I then took authority over the controlling demon of storms or tornadoes. I commanded them to cease and desist. And they obeyed; things got calm. Try it; you will be amazed. It is not a game.
However, some evils, like what is happening in Muslim countries in the East, are so massive and involve so many radical terrorists that only God can stop it. Yet we do have authority over some things. Often we have to pray a lot and fast.
There is a little book called, "Spiritual Warfare Prayers" by Robert Abel at CatholicWarriors.com. It has some short and very powerful prayers. Do we need Jesus to come back soon to end such advance of evils? Jesus, please pour out more of your merciful love on all of your children.
Have a good week and stay as close to God as fish do to water. Please pray a lot.
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)