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Friday, August 7, 2015

Preparation: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The readings for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time can be found here.

As we prepare for this weekend's Liturgy of the Word, what comes to your mind when you think of God's presence in your life? As in the first reading, do you find yourself like Elijah, looking for God in large signs before seeing Him in the fire?
In the Psalm, we respond with "Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation."  In what ways has the Lord shown you His kindness this week.  Have you felt the beauty of Christ's salvation in your life in a special way recently?
St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, " I have great sorrow and constant 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..."  Following Jesus and the teachings of the Church isn't easy; often times we find ourselves fighting against what God asks of us and what the world around us asks of us.  Especially in this time of unease and unrest in our respective societies, we find ourselves with the sorrow and pain that St. Paul writes about.   Are you filling pulled in many directions?  Are you having fights within your family or circle of friends, where you feel your beliefs being challenged or questioned? 
We can turn to the Gospel for Jesus's direct teaching to us.  Matthew's Gospel tells us that the boat His disciples were in was being tossed about in the waves.  Peter, although he tells Christ that he will follow the Master onto the waves, begins to sink in the face of his own fear.  But Jesus catches him, asking him simply, "Why did you doubt?”
As we are tossed about in the sea of culture and disbelief, we often say that we want to be like St. Peter, walking out into the waves.  But we are overcome by trouble and fear, and we begin to sink.  Sometimes, we start to flail our arms; sometimes we fall beneath the waves.  Are you falling?  Have you reached out your hand like St. Peter?
Questions to consider from the Gospel:  Why do we doubt?  Are there ways that you have doubted recently?  What are ways that you can combat your doubt?


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