August 9, 2020
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Fr. Ed Smith
1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33
This past week, on August 6, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Every year we remember how Our Lord gave His disciples the extraordinary gift of seeing a glimpse of who He really is in His glory in order to strengthen their faith and help them say yes to his command to follow Him. This feast is also important to me personally because it is the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Thirty-eight years ago, I was ordained by Archbishop Bernardin, and in my time as a seminarian, as well as through my years as a priest, people have often asked me about how I knew that this was my vocation. In essence, I think they are asking me: “How do we hear God?” and “How do we experience Him?” The prophet Elijah, is astonished to find that the Lord is not in the mighty wind or in the earthquake or in the fire…but rather He was in a gentle, tiny whispering sound. Why is this important? If you think of it, God could probably convince any one of us that He is present if He appeared in some spectacular, explosive and thundering way. We could not help but notice Him. It takes a person of deep faith, like Elijah, to hear God in a tiny, whispering sound. It takes even greater faith to listen to that sound, to respond, and to follow God who is the origin of that whisper of love. Elijah does this. And Jesus, in the Gospel, takes it even further, showing that the noise, danger and tumult of a stormy sea is no match for His calming [whispering?] presence. As the disciples become more and more terrified, Jesus speaks to them saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” This message of courage is what Jesus says to all of us, no matter what ‘storm’ we are facing in life, or what questions we face about our vocation. Trusting in His voice [even though at times it might seem the tiniest whisper and difficult to hear] is what the person of faith does. May all of us grow in that faith. I am so grateful that, for the past nine years of my thirty-eight as a priest, you have helped me hear God’s voice and see His love more clearly every day. God bless you!