First reading: 1 King 19:9,11-13
Psalm: Psalm 84(85):9-14
Second reading: Romans 9:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-23
Link to readings.
Like Jesus in this week’s Gospel story, we try and find the time to pray with our heavenly Father. Our readings this week reveal God’s presence in our lives, especially in times of trial.
The dispirited prophet Elijah in the First Reading recognises God in ‘the sound of a gentle breeze’, rather than in impressive manifestations.
May we hear God’s voice that speaks of mercy and faithfulness, justice and peace (Psalm).
St Paul in his Letter to the Romans (Second Reading) reveals his love and respect for his Jewish heritage and its people. He would even forgo his greater love for Christ to help them.
Jesus distances himself to find the space and peace to pray. The storm in the Gospel reflects the storm in Elijah’s life. Can the disciples recognise the Lord? The question to Peter, “Why did you doubt?” is also addressed to us.
The God of power comes in dramatic crises but also in the quietness of our daily lives. Perhaps this week I can listen and become more aware of this.
I come to my place of prayer. I focus on God’s presence, maybe with the help of a lighted candle or favourite picture.
I allow myself to relax into God’s all-embracing love.
I read the text slowly a couple of times. Elijah, too, is called into God’s presence.
I re-live the last day or days. I ask the Lord to help me see where I have sensed his presence in my life: in my prayer, my work, the people around me, the daily routine, in nature, in events ...?
I ponder these occasions and speak to the Lord of them. What does it reveal to me? How can it help me for tomorrow?
I turn again to Elijah. It may be that the Lord seems very distant and absent to me. I give him the gift of this time spent with him alone and wait with love and patience for him to pass by.
I end this time with gratitude, asking the Lord to remain with me always.
I settle quietly to pray, taking the time to become slowly more aware of being in God’s loving presence. I ask him to open my heart as I read the text a couple of times.
Perhaps I can unite myself with Jesus as he seeks silence and space to be with his Heavenly Father. I stay with him as long as it seems comfortable.
I might enter the story with my imagination, placing myself in the boat with the disciples.
I imagine their fear as I see the waves, feel the wind and the pitching and rolling of the boat. What particular fears are present for me?
Then I see Jesus walking towards me on the water. Am I reassured or even more fearful?
When he says “Come”, asking me to step out of the boat towards him, how do I respond? Do I look at him, or at my feet? I note my feelings and reactions and speak to the Lord of this. Can I pray with an act of faith, like the disciples?
I bring my prayer to a close with gratitude, aware that the Lord is always interceding for me.
Reflections based on Prego by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham