In the first reading, God told Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by.” (1 Kgs 19:11) A strong and heavy wind came followed by an earthquake, then a fire, but the Lord was not to be found there. Then there was a tiny whispering sound and God was there. As Elijah realized, we cannot hear or recognize God’s voice amidst the noise and clatter of the world.
There are many rich symbolisms we can gather from the readings. The storm at sea represents the evil that we face in this world. As Elijah found God in “a light silent sound” (1 Kgs 19:12), Jesus, too, was communing with His Father as He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. As a vibrant and active Catholic charismatic community, it is oftentimes challenging to quiet down and listen for the Lord’s soft voice. We devote so little of our time to private contemplation and God’s presence in that meditative space. We choose, rather, to keep ourselves busy in other charitable works. Not that those are unimportant, but by doing so, aren’t we missing opportunities to be with God, to gain wisdom in His presence and to receive affirmation, encouragement, and direction for our actions?
In a similar manner, the disciples are the mirror of our strengths, weaknesses and personal fears. How many of us can identify with Peter as he walked on water only to waver and sink, only saved by the extension of the hand of Jesus. More times than not, we do it alone, relying on ourselves rather than on God until our little faith cries out, “Lord, save me!”
BLD Newark, in its infancy, was the vanguard of BLD’s evangelization efforts in America planting districts in the East and West coasts. Like Peter, Newark can be lauded for its initiative and its courage to step out into the unknown, where her fruit has been bountiful. But have we stayed the course or have we faltered? Where are we headed? Can we fulfill our new mission and vision with the same, if not more intensity and resolve as when we started 22 years ago? More than ever, even in the face of dwindling membership, we should continue our resolve to evangelize, seeking God’s guidance every step of the way through prayers and with the strong belief that what we are doing is what God wants us to do. Let us get out of the boat, trusting God at all times and walking with others towards Christ without fear.
Father God, protect us and Your community from the violent waves and strong winds of fear and disbelief. Give us a strong faith and banish all our doubts. Help us not to be afraid but to be courageous and trusting in Your power and love. Should we lose focus on you and begin to sink, Lord, say “Come” and stretch out your hand and save us. Then as a community of faith, we will pay homage to You and with one voice proclaim, “Truly, You are the Son of God.” (Mt 14:33)