Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 13, 2023

This Sunday the Church invites us to recognize Jesus’s saving presence among us, His people, our need for prayer and trusting in Him who is our loving and providing God who is always with us in our storms of life.

In the first reading, the prophet Elijah had an encounter with God, and his peace was restored. A very significant lesson for us in this reading is that when we have internal calmness away from the distractions of life, we can hear God speaks to us more clearly. To say that God spoke to Elijah after silence, is to say that Elijah experienced peace of mind and heart before he listened to the Lord. God came at the appropriate time, not in a great wind, not in an earthquake, not in a fire, but in a sound of sheer silence. We definitely can listen better to the voice of God when we are internally in peace and in calm. In order to speak to God in our prayers it is important to look for the best time and the best place so that we can listen clearly to his voice without distractions.

In the second reading, Paul expresses his grief for his people (fellow Jews). This was because they rejected the good news. His grief was so great that he lamented: “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart”. In other words, he was not at peace because his own people were without the possibility of entering eternal life. Therefore, Saint Paul teaches us we should not always be concerned only for ourselves and for our own salvation. We should equally be concerned about the welfare and the salvation of others too.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples of Jesus experienced a big storm on the Sea of Galilee ( it is also called Lake of Tiberias or Kinneret), and Jesus was available to restore peace and calm to his disciples. “Storms” are part of our human existence. They are inevitable in our lives, just as the waves are inevitable in the sea. Sometimes, storms hit us so hard that they crush us, devastate us, and leave us almost lifeless. However, when we are in that situation, Christ comes with his help and says to us as He said to his disciples: “take heart! It is I; do not be afraid.”

So, what we need to do is to trust in Him, and keep walking without fear of sinking towards Him. Like Peter, we need to step out with faith and courage against the storms of our lives. Therefore, let us hold on firmly in Jesus, who calms our storms of this life and restores our peace.

Peace be with you all!