Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a
Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Reading 2 Rom 9:1-5
Gospel Mt 14:22-33
Sometimes the Lord seems distant when problems and adversity comes your way. Just like the disciples found themselves in peril on an angry sea. Although they were experienced fisherman, they feared for their lives. Jesus came to them and assured them that they would be safe if they kept their faith. Reading this gospel reading, reassures me that if I keep my faith everything will be alright in my life. A great deal of failure in the Christian life is due to acting on impulse and emotional fervor without counting the cost. Saint Peter, fortunately in the moment of his failure, clutched at Jesus and held him firmly. Every time Peter fell, he rose again. His failures only made him love the Lord more deeply and trust him more intently. When calamities or trials threaten to overwhelm me, how do I respond? With faith or hopelessness.
My personal experiences as it relates to the Gospel reading. (How do we handle adversity in life.)
On the morning of May 20, 2000 a beautiful spring day and also Mothers’ Day, I was setting up for family to come and enjoy dinner. My sons Paul, Joseph, Steven and my nephew Nickolas went to Cox air field in Apex, N.C. to fly with my son Paul in his plane. My son Paul flew many missions overseas during armed conflict. Paul was also an American Airlines pilot and flew many miles. At about 1 PM that afternoon I got a message that the plane had crashed with my son Paul and my nephew Nicholas, who was eleven years old, on the plane. On that day both were killed in the crash. My reaction to this calamity was immediate loss of faith in God. My reaction was I am giving up on all the hard work I put in on twenty two years of abstinence from gambling addiction and the leadership role in this Twelve-step program and helping others. God and church were the furthest things on my mind. When this tragedy happened God was not finished with me. He sent me a messenger. A member of the Twelve-step program to my home. He said he was in trouble and needed help. My reaction was “God, how can I help him after what happened to my family?” God had the answer; “Just try.” So I reached out even in grief and helped him. Since that day my life has changed for the better in many ways including an increased amount of faith and service to others by becoming a Eucharistic hospital and church minister. I got more involved with the Knights of Columbus and joined Regnum Christi. Since the death of my son Paul, he has come to me through others inspiring me as he did in his life. This is all tied to the Gospel readings: Have faith no matter what happens in your life and do for others and you will be rewarded.