Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 9, 2020
Today’s Sunday readings have two stories, about two Biblical characters, whose qualities I’d like to possess. Let me explain.
In the first reading we meet the prophet Elijah. Pursued by the evil queen Jezebel, he’s running for his life—but that’s not the quality I necessarily want to imitate. Rather, it’s when he stops running that he shows a remarkable perception.
When God invites Elijah to come out from his cave for a divine encounter, Elijah knows enough to pass up a mighty wind, an earthquake and a fire. I suspect I’d be looking for God in any or all of these powerful manifestations. But instead, the prophet hears a tiny whispering sound. It’s then that he hides his face in his cloak and goes to meet the Lord.
In the Gospel story, Peter, along with his disciple buddies, battle a storm on the lake. When they see a terrifying sight—Jesus walking on the water—Peter alone responds to Jesus with a courageous walk on the water himself. It’s that courage—and not Peter’s subsequent doubt--that I’d like to imitate.
The perception of the prophet to discern God in an unlikely place, and the courage of Peter to take a bold step to meet Jesus: Those are the qualities I’m praying for this Sunday. How about you?