May the grace of Christ console your hearts!
This weekend we are reminded of our need to pray through the many challenges that confront us in life. Although God is always there to help us through them, we do not always remember or recognize God’s presence and nearness to us while we are in the midst of difficulties.
Elijah has had to face Jezebel and all the priests of Baal who oppose the one true God. As God’s prophet, Elijah was familiar with opposition and difficulty but he had reached a point of loneliness and weariness that were so overwhelming that he asked God to end his life. While he was lying on his mat waiting for death to come, an angel was sent to stir him to eat and then journey to the mountain to where God would speak to him. As you already know, “going to the mountain” is a literary image used to convey that Elijah’s journey was spiritual which includes prayer. In the midst of an overwhelming storm and violent natural forces, Elijah finds God’s presence with him in the still, small voice: in the quiet of prayer.
In the Gospel scene Jesus sends the disciples out on their own. The wind and sea against them indicates that they are experiencing difficulties and challenges in their efforts to be disciples. Meanwhile, Jesus takes time to pray and get face to face time with God: yes Jesus needed to pray! Jesus walks across the water showing that union with God lifts us above torments, struggles and chaos. As He draws near them, he is aware of their struggles. Jesus extends to Peter the power to “walk on the water,” to rise above the chaos and confusion of the challenges but Peter loses his focus on Jesus and succumbs to sinking into human fear. But, when Peter calls in need, Jesus saves him and raises him up! Isn’t it amazing? Elijah was saved by his cloak, a piece of cloth signifying his devotion to God and God’s providence, shelter and protection for him. But we have something greater than what Elijah had: we have the name of Jesus! We do not need anything but Jesus’ name for our salvation and when we call to him, he is with us immediately! So when storms and tempests, challenges and difficulties arise in our lives, we call on the one who is always near and has power to save! God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter