Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
August 2, 2022
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we begin with a puzzling passage from Jeremiah. Verses 12-15 describe an Israel which, spiritually, is terminally ill.
For thus says the LORD:Jeremiah 30: 12-14
Incurable is your wound,
grievous your injury;
There is none to plead your case,
no remedy for your running sore,
no healing for you.
The puzzling part comes with the dramatic shift at verses 16-17 when God seems to step out of Israel’s storm to cure her:
Yet all who devour you shall be devoured,Jeremiah 30: 16-17
all your enemies shall go into exile.
All who plunder you shall become plunder,
all who pillage you I will hand over to be pillaged.l
For I will restore your health;
I will heal your injuries—oracle of the LORD.
“The outcast” they have called you,
“whom no one looks for.”
So what’s the point of the whole Jeremiah passage for us? Perhaps for today we can find that meaning in Matthew’s story of the stormy sea.
… the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
It’s rather easy to find God on a clear, pleasant day. It’s not so easy when God walks toward us out of life’s storms. Jeremiah was challenging Israel to find God in a storm. Jesus is challenging Peter to trust and do the same.
God doesn’t send storms to test us. Life is just stormy some times — that’s just the way it is. Faith asks us to trust that God is with us at such times and can use even chaotic circumstances to bring us closer to God’s heart. Hananiah was afraid to believe that so he made up a lie. Peter was half-brave enough to try to believe, and Jesus helped him the rest of the way.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Oh boy, that first step into nothing but waves is a doozy, isn’t it! But with God’s help, we can pass through the storm holding God’s hand into even deeper faith and trust for the rest of life’s voyage.
But when Peter saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Poetry: Catastrophe Is Next to Godliness – Franny Choi
Lord, I confess I want the clarity of catastrophe but not the catastrophe.
Like everyone else, I want a storm I can dance in.
I want an excuse to change my life.
The day A. died, the sun was brighter than any sun.
I answered the phone, and a channel opened
between my stupid head and heaven, or what was left of it. The blankness
stared back; and I made sound after sound with my blood-wet gullet.
O unsayable—O tender and divine unsayable, I knew you then:
you line straight to the planet’s calamitous core; you moment moment moment;
you intimate abyss I called sister for a good reason.
When the Bad Thing happened, I saw every blade.
And every year I find out what they’ve done to us, I shed another skin.
I get closer to open air; true north.
Lord, if I say Bless the cold water you throw on my face,
does that make me a costume party. Am I greedy for comfort
if I ask you not to kill my friends; if I beg you to press
your heel against my throat—not enough to ruin me,
but just so—just so I can almost see your face—
Music: God of the Storm – The Freemans