Tragedy

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on August 8, 1993

Readings: Kings: 19:9, 11-13; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33

In today’s readings, we are challenged to see God in our midst.  In the Gospel, Jesus appears and approaches his disciples while walking on the water.  Peter, in his human frailty, begins to sink when he is invited to walk on the water with Jesus.  But Jesus, in a wonderful showing of his humanity, simply reaches out and catches Peter.  From our scripture readings today, we know that there are precious few people that see God in all of His splendor.  For the remainder of us, God is present in the faces and actions of our sisters and brothers. In this homily, we are reminded of the floods in the Mississippi and the tornadoes in Petersburg, VA not because of the natural disasters themselves, but because of the tremendous response from others who offered their help.

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on July 11, 1993

Readings: Isaiah 55: 10-11; Romans 8: 18-23; Matthew 13: 1-23

What should we feel in the face of tragedies, such as diseases or natural disasters, in light of the first reading where Isaiah eloquently says that God’s words and actions come down to enrich our lives?  Jesus asks us in this day’s Gospel to let God’s words live within us to be the best people that we can be, bringing triumph out of tragedy by being one with our sisters and brothers in their need.  We can never understand or control nature, but we can be in harmony with it through our unique giftedness.