8-12-20 Midweek Musings

19th Ordinary Sunday
August 9, 2020
“Escaping to God”

1 Kgs 19:11-13
Rom 9:1-5
Mt 14:22-33

My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord –

How do we deal with the hardships of life?  What is our attitude, our response, or reaction when life becomes extremely difficult? How do we react when our life is threatened or in imminent danger? In other words, how do we cope with the things that threaten to harm us or to destroy us?

We all want to live and to have the best life possible. The human race has progressed a great deal since Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon times. We have also learned that we are composite creatures – we have a body and a soul or spirit. Furthermore, while we know our body will die, most know, intuitively, that our soul lives on in some way.

Hardship and danger can take its toll and break us down physically and spiritually. While our bodies can endure a great deal of pain, real suffering takes place in our soul and spirit. Most can sustain physical hardship as long as they can maintain a positive and hopeful soul and spirit.

But even the spirit can break down if we don’t have the right tools to sustain it and keep it healthy. How we have been affected by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic is indicative of how well we are – or are not – coping. Fortunately, the scriptures for today can be a great help for us as we face our present hardships.

The prophet Elijah lived a vocation of hardship.  God commissioned him to convert the Chosen People and their king from the pagan gods and the pagan ways they had embraced instead of God and His ways. Elijah did some truly marvelous things.  He foretold a drought and famine – He brought down God’s fire from heaven with subsequent rain – He beheaded hundreds of false prophets – But his words went disregarded and unheeded. There was a price on his head.

He considered himself a failure as a prophet, so he ran away!

Actually, Elijah made a pilgrimage to the sacred mountain where Moses encountered God. And there, Elijah himself encountered God. God asked him why he ran away. Why did he leave the land of his work? And Elijah responded that he was tired; he was discouraged, and didn’t want to go on as a prophet the king wished to kill.

Consequently, God gave Elijah a tremendous demonstration of His almighty power – as well as where Elijah could truly find God.

But God was not in the tornado – He was not in the earthquake – He was not in the raging conflagration! Instead, God was best found in the stillness and in the silence. God could be heard in Elijah’s inner, spiritual self! Only then, with that inner power, could Elijah go back, find a successor, and ultimately go home to God and into a better world!

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus needed a break. He needed time alone with God. He had been thwarted in his first attempt to do so by the thousands of people seeking cures and his words. So, after feeding the multitude, Jesus went off alone – finally able to be with God.

However, the disciples were in dire straits. Separated from Jesus, they were losing out against the storm. Then during the fourth watch, the darkest hours before the dawn – the very time when satan was believed to be most at work – Jesus came to them!

The terrified disciples thought it was a ghost! Nevertheless, Peter had courage.

He believed it was Jesus, and was willing to risk walking out to him. But like ourselves, when we face great hardship, Peter began to falter; he began to doubt; he felt powerless against the wind and the waves. But Peter’s faith helped him. He cried out to Jesus for help. And Jesus saved him – Jesus grasped Peter; he eliminated the danger and he stilled the storm!

Brothers and Sisters, what do we do when we feel overwhelmed? Where do we go when life becomes impossible? Do we go to God? Do we call upon Jesus? Do we find a quiet place? Or do we curse and swear? Do we run to pseudo escapes or material distractions?

What we do and where we go, will depend upon what we have cultivated in our soul and spirit. Have we made time for God alone? Have we a quiet space within ourselves to be safe and still when the storms, the earthquakes, the infernos of life beset us?

If not, it is time to start or to renew what we had before. Time alone with God – listening to what God has to say to us – letting peace of heart transform our tired bodies and minds!

O Lord, our God, help us to become more aware of you at every moment of our life – May we become especially aware of you when we are in danger and most at risk!

Amen.

Msgr. Russell G. Terra, Parish Homilies,
Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Redding, CA



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5 thoughts on “8-12-20 Midweek Musings

  1. It is like you condensed everything I’m learning and applying in a nutshell! ❤️

    I read this this am:
    psalm 41

    A David Psalm

    41 1-3 Dignify those who are down on their luck;
    you’ll feel good—that’s what God does.
    God looks after us all,
    makes us robust with life—
    Lucky to be in the land,
    we’re free from enemy worries.
    Whenever we’re sick and in bed,
    God becomes our nurse,
    nurses us back to health.
    4-7 I said, “God, be gracious!
    Put me together again—
    my sins have torn me to pieces.”
    My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
    they make bets on what day I will die.
    If someone comes to see me,
    he mouths empty platitudes,
    All the while gathering gossip about me
    to entertain the street-corner crowd.
    These “friends” who hate me
    whisper slanders all over town.
    They form committees
    to plan misery for me.
    8-9 The rumor goes out, “He’s got some dirty,
    deadly disease. The doctors
    have given up on him.”
    Even my best friend, the one I always told everything
    —he ate meals at my house all the time!—
    has bitten my hand.
    10 God, give grace, get me up on my feet.
    I’ll show them a thing or two.
    11-12 Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side—
    no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp!
    You know me inside and out, you hold me together,
    you never fail to stand me tall in your presence
    so I can look you in the eye.
    13 Blessed is God, Israel’s God,
    always, always, always.
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 Kings 6:8-22

    The Blinded Syrians Captured
    8 Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such and such a place.” 9 And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.” 10 Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice.

    11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?”

    12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

    13 So he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.”

    And it was told him, saying, “Surely he is in Dothan.”

    14 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

    16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

    19 Now Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” But he led them to Samaria.

    20 So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria!

    21 Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?”

    22 But he answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23 Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.

    Like

  3. 2 Kings 6:8-22

    The Blinded Syrians Captured
    8 Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such and such a place.” 9 And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.” 10 Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice.

    11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?”

    12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

    13 So he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.”

    And it was told him, saying, “Surely he is in Dothan.”

    🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹

    14 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

    16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

    🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹

    19 Now Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” But he led them to Samaria.

    20 So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria!

    21 Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?”

    22 But he answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23 Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.

    … ❤️ .. thank you very much Carl, God bless you ❤️

    Like

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