19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 10, 2008; Year: A
1 Kgs 19:9, 11-13; Rom. 9:1-5; Mt 14:22-33
Oh, Man of little faith
"When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he
came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word
of the Lord came to him, saying, 'Go out and stand on
the mountain before the lord, for the Lord is about to
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was
splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before
the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after
the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the
earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the
Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle
and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave." [1
Kgs. 19:9, 11- 13]
"I am speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying;
my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit. I have
great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off
from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred
according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them
belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the
giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to
them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to
the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God be
blessed forever. Amen." [Rom. 9:1-5]
"Immediately after feeding the crowd with the five
loaves and two fish, Jesus made the disciples get into
the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he
dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the
crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.
When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time
the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land,
for the wind was against them.
And early in the morning Jesus came walking toward them
on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on
the sea, they were terrified, saying, 'It is a ghost!'
And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke
to them and said, 'Take heart, it is I; do not be
Peter answered him, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to
come to you on the water.' Jesus said, 'Come.' So Peter
got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and
came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind,
he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried
out, 'Lord, save me!'
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him,
saying to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?'
When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those
in the boat worshipped him, saying, 'Truly you are the
Son of God.'" [Mt. 14:22-33]
Robin and Wilma loved one another. They decided to
marry. Kids were born. Wilma gave up working because she
had to take care of kids. As months and years passed the
stress of life and distance between Robin and Wilma due
to work resulted a strain in their relationship and
commitment. Both of them began blaming themselves. Then
they started blaming one another and finally they blamed
God. As the kids were growing, unhappiness became
visible among the family members. Wilma stopped
communicating with Robin, Robin began sinking in
alcoholism. Wilma began sinking in depression and doubt
against Robin. Children began sinking in irresponsible
behaviour and addicted to bad friendships, smoking, and
Well, life is a blend of commitment,
faith, patience, love, forgiveness and understanding.
This blend can take a family a long way in spite of all
the uncertainties and sufferings. But doubt can really
sink us as it sank Peter, unless we call upon the Lord
to help us we would drown all together in the ocean of
insecurity and pain.
Just look at Peter. Over enthusiastic,
and wants to walk towards the Lord on water. At the
Lord’s word he jumps. Then he begins to doubt himself,
“can I do it”? Then he looks at the deep sea, and doubts
the environment, finally he might have doubted the Lord.
Well, then comes the helpless cry, “Lord save me”.
ANALYSIS OF THE VERSES FOR HOMILY
Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a boat
Either they were afraid to return into
the jurisdiction of Herod, or they were unwilling to
embark without their Lord and Protector, and would not
enter their boat till Christ had commanded them to
From this verse it appears that Christ
gave some advices to the multitudes after the departure
of his disciples, which he did not wish them to hear.
Unto the other side
Towards Capernaum, Matthew 14:34. John
6:16,17, or Bethsaida, see Mark 6:45.
He went up into a mountain apart, to pray
He whom God has employed in a work of
mercy had need to return, by prayer, as speedily, to his
maker, as he can, lest he should be tempted to value
himself on account of that in which he has no merit-for
the good that is done upon earth, the Lord does it
alone. Some make this part of our Lord's conduct
emblematic of the spirit and practice of prayer, and
observe that the proper dispositions and circumstances
for praying well are:
1. Retirement from the world.2.
Elevation of the heart to God.3. Solitude. 4.
The silence and quiet of the night.
It is certain that in this also Christ
has left us an example that we should follow his steps.
Retirement from the world is often a means of animating,
supporting, and spiritualizing prayer. Other society
should be shut out, when a soul comes to converse with
Tossed with waves
This is the proper meaning of the word plunged
under the waves, frequently covered with them; the waves
often breaking over the vessel.
The fourth watch
Anciently the Jews divided the night into
three watches, consisting of four hours
each. The first watch is mentioned,
Lamentations 2:19: the second, Judges
7:19; and the third, Exodus 14:24; but a
fourth watch is not mentioned in any part
of the OLD Testament. This division the Romans had
introduced in Judea, as also the custom of dividing the
day into twelve hours: see John 11:9. The
first watch began at six o'clock in the
evening, and continued till nine; the second
began at nine, and continued till twelve;
the third began at twelve, and continued
till three next morning; and the fourth
began at three, and continued till six. It
was therefore between the hours of three and
six in the morning that Jesus made his
appearance to his disciples.
Walking on the sea:
Thus suspending the laws of gravitation
was a proper manifestation of unlimited power. Jesus did
this by his own power; therefore Jesus showed forth his
Godhead. In this one miracle we may discover three:-1.
Though at a distance from his disciples, he knew
their distress. 2. He found them out on the lake,
and probably in the midst of darkness. 3. He
walked upon the water. Job, speaking of those
things whereby the omnipotence of God was demonstrated,
says particularly, Job 9:8, He walks upon the waves
of the sea: intimating that this was impossible to
any thing but Omnipotence.
It is a spirit
That the spirits of the dead might
and did appear, was a doctrine held by the
greatest and holiest of men that ever existed; and a
doctrine which the cavaliers, free-thinkers and
bound-thinkers, of different ages, have never
been able to disprove.
It is I; be not afraid
Nothing but this voice of Christ could,
in such circumstances, have given courage and comfort to
his disciples: those who are grievously tossed with
difficulties and temptations require a similar
manifestation of his power and goodness. When he
proclaims himself in the soul, all sorrow, and fear, and
sin are at an end.
Bid me come unto thee on the water.
A weak faith is always wishing for signs
and miracles. To take Christ at his word,
argues not only the perfection of faith, but also the
highest exercise of sound reason. He is to be credited
on his own word, because he is the TRUTH,
and therefore can neither lie nor deceive.
Peter-walked on the water
However impossible the thing commanded by
Christ may appear, it is certain he will give power to
accomplish it to those who receive his word by faith;
but we must take care never to put Christ's power to the
proof for the gratification of a vain curiosity; or even
for the strengthening of our faith, when the ordinary
means for doing that are within our reach.
When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid
It was by faith in the power of Christ he
was upheld; when that faith failed, by which the laws of
gravitation were suspended, no wonder that those laws
returned to their usual action, and that he began to
sink. It was not the violence of the winds, nor the
raging of the waves, which endangered his life, but his
littleness of faith.
Jesus stretched forth his hand
Every moment we stand in need of Christ:
while we stand-we are upheld by his power only;
and when we are falling, or have fallen,
we can be saved only by his mercy. Let us always take
care that we do not consider so much the danger to which
we are exposed, as the power of Christ by which we are
to be upheld; and then our mountain is likely to stand
The wind ceased.
Jesus is the Prince of peace, and all is
peace and calm where he condescends to enter and
Thou art the Son of God.
It is probable that these words were
spoken either by the sailors or passengers,
and not by the disciples. Critics have remarked
that, when this phrase is used to denominate the
MESSIAH, both the articles are used, and that the words
without the articles mean, in the common Jewish phrase,
a Divine person. It would have been a strange
thing indeed, if the disciples, after all the miracles
they had seen Jesus work-after their having left all to
follow him, Messiah. That they had not as yet
clear conceptions concerning his kingdom, is
evident enough; but that they had any doubts concerning
his being the promised Messiah is far from being
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