Lectio Matthew 14:22–33 Meditatio “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
As I pray with this Gospel account, I contemplate each part of it, entering into the story as if I too were with Peter and the other disciples in their boat. As they set off, the wind begins to rise, rocking their boat. In the heart of the night, as the wind tosses the disciples’ boat, Jesus comes “toward them walking on the sea.” I sense the fear that comes upon Peter and the disciples, but Jesus comforts and strengthens them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Jesus does not scold Peter for his fear, but simply calls to him, “Come,” thus inviting him to a deeper trust in Jesus and in his word. Peter leaves the security of his boat to follow Jesus. But when Peter takes his gaze off Jesus and looks around at the waves, seeing how strong the wind is, he starts to sink. But even in the midst of his panic and fear, Peter again turns his attention to Jesus, the only one who can save him. As soon as Peter cries out to Jesus, the Gospel tells us that “immediately” and without hesitation, “Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter.” This encounter allows Peter and the other disciples on the boat to more clearly recognize Jesus as the Son of God. But what about me? Just like Peter, how often I want proof: Is it really you, Jesus? Are you really with me? Jesus invites me also to deepen my faith in him, in whom we meet a God who loves us so much that he became one of us. He continues to come to me and to each of us today, in the midst of the darkest storms of life. Oratio Jesus, you know about all the storms in my life, all the uncertainties, trials, and suffering that I and those I love are going through. You know about all the fears and doubts I hold within, and how small and hopeless I am before them all. When I feel overwhelmed and afraid, and when I struggle to believe you are with me, help me to take courage from the knowledge that you are always with me. May I behold the greatness of your love that works with more power and beauty than I can imagine.
Contemplatio “Be still and confess that I am God!” (Ps 46:11)
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 24–25). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.
Love leads to communion, and communion allows everyone to move forward in harmony. Communion is not a happiness passively enjoyed, but it struggles to maintain a fraternal spirit and to open the doors of this fraternity to all people. By nature, love propagates itself; it is contagious, communicates to others, and draws everyone toward communion. I must engrave this maxim within myself: "Communion is the struggle of every moment." A moment's neglect can destroy it; a mere trifle suffices, a single thought without charity, an obstinately maintained prejudice, a harmful attachment, an erroneous direction, a personal ambition or interest, an action done for myself and not for the Lord, returning to a bad habit already abandoned, the desire for personal satisfaction that overrides what is pleasing to the Lord.
Help me, Lord, to examine myself in this way: Who is the center of my life: you or me? If you are the center, then everyone will be gathered into unity. But if, instead, I see that people around me lose interest and disperse, that will be a sign that I have put myself at the center. from Prayers of Hope — Words of Courage by Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan pp.34-35
The Holy Spirit, in the variety of his gifts, unites us and enables us to contribute to the building up of the Church in holiness. In this great work, each of us has a part to play; each of us, as a "living stone", is needed for the growth and the beauty of God's holy temple. Let us ask the Lord to help us to take an ever more active part in the Church's life and mission, guided by the Holy Spirit and with Jesus as our cornerstone.
If More People Believed This The World Would Be Very Different
Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay small acts of kindness and love.
Lectio Matthew 13:54–58 Meditatio “… their lack of faith.” This Gospel scene presents Jesus to us after he has traveled around Galilee gaining fame and popularity by teaching with authority and performing mighty deeds. Jesus might have hoped for a warm, supportive welcome from the people of his hometown, who had known him since his youth. But any hope of comfort or sympathy quickly disappears when he is faced with their suspicious questions and lack of faith. What is this lack of faith? What exactly are they lacking? What is it that his neighbors cannot believe? Could it be that they are stuck in their own narrow ideas of God? Are they so convinced that they know how God should reveal himself that when God does reveal himself in a concrete, visible way in Jesus, they can’t recognize him? Perhaps they haven’t lived in a relationship with God. To be “in relationship” with someone means that the parties continually reveal themselves to each other. It would be unreasonable to think I really know anyone through and through. The other person always remains somewhat of a mystery to me, no matter how long we have known each other or how much of ourselves we have shared. How much more true is this of God, who is totally other! Perhaps Jesus’ admonition regarding their lack of faith refers to their lack of a living, growing relationship with God. Perhaps Jesus is inviting them to realize that no one has the last word on how God should be, act, or reveal himself. It is we who must remain open, longing to understand who he is and how he acts in our lives and in the world, ready to assent to what he does show us about himself, because he is God. Oratio Jesus, sometimes I think I know you. I also think I know who the Father is and can recognize how he acts in my life. But how often I limit you because of my human and somewhat narrow vision. How often I may be lacking in faith because my relationship with you is based on my self-constructed image of you. Help me, instead, to see the reality of yourself that you are revealing to me day by day. Help me to live today open to what you will teach me about yourself, about the Father, about my relationship with you.
Contemplatio “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 302–303). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.
Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.