TWO THEOPHANIES: GOD’S SELF- MANIFESTATIONS
NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The readings of 19th Sunday of the year tell us about God’ manifestations or self - revelations to human beings. The first (1 Kings 19.9.11-13) to one individual , prophet Elijah; the second (Mat. 14,22-33) to a group of individuals, the 12 disciples.
Both stories reveal the power of God over nature and the work of creation (wind, earthquake, fire, walking on the water). Both reveal that God is found and met in peace and tranquility, or he himself, the Lord, brings peace and quietness. Both reassure and strengthen the shaky faith of men (Elijah and the disciples). Again, both stories refer to a crisis situation. Elijah is on the run. Queen Jezabel has vowed to kill him after he, Elijah, killed a multitude of false prophets at Mount Carmel.
The disciples are at the mercy of the waves of the lake, after Jesus – having fed a multitude of people by the miracle of the loaves - sent them ahead on a boat.
It is amazing how these men – most of them experienced fishermen – are terrified both by the threatening waves of the lake and by the ‘presumed’ ghost. It means that everybody is bound to experience fear at some time in life because of unexpected situations.
But the Lord is not far away, he is always close by, ready to come to the rescue:
“Go out, stand on the mountain before the Lord”, in the case of Elijah;
“Courage! It is I, do not be afraid”, says Jesus to the twelve.
At the time of crisis (fear, failure, weakness, sickness, persecution, loneliness, discouragement…), how can we experience the Lord’s presence and care? How can we really see him and meet him?
The Church can indicate the ways and means, tested by long experience.
A. Pope Francis keeps repeating and recommending a formula that is good and valid for all Christians in any circumstance and situation: “I invite all christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. I ask all of you to do this unfailingly every day” (Evang. Gaudium n.3). This means a rather prolonged daily quiet time of prayer and sincere dialogue with the Lord.
B. An ongoing sincere effort to deepen our faithfulness to the Lord, by trying to observe the commandments, our basic duties and to strive to do God’s will, remembering the words of Jesus: “If you love me, you do what I tell you”
C. Attending the Sunday Mass regularly, with a repentant and humble heart (which means regular confession). Taking full, active, attentive part in the celebration of the Eucharist. This may really become for us a moment of Tabor: experiencing the beauty and power of the Lord.