19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Aug. 7, 2011)

Pondering Sunday’s readings, I kept coming back to the first phrase of the refrain from the Responsorial Psalm: “Lord. let us see your kindness….” It caught my attention because there are extremes in those readings, and in every case we see the Lord at work.

Elijah is utterly worn out from his battle with the priests of Baal, and the subsequent flight from the wrath of Queen Jezebel. He’s hiding in a cave, ready to give up. Then God speaks to him in that still, small whisper.

Paul is in anguish. He has worked and worked and worked and still the Jewish people will not hear his message. All that has been given to them has prepared them for the Messiah, yet they will not take that one step that leads to full faith in Jesus. Why? Because Jesus doesn’t fit their preconceived notions.

On the opposite extreme from the small voice of Elijah, we have the roaring voice of God in the storm at sea. Jesus manifests his power in an extraordinary way … not just in the calming of the storm, but in the extraordinarily gentle way he treats the gallant but frightened Peter.

Seeing the Lord’s kindness means letting go of our ideas of where God is to be found. Every single part of creation has something to tell us about God, from the tiniest fern in the woods to the deepest galaxies of space and everything in between, including every race and age of humanity. Even when we face personal difficulties and weariness, there we can find God present if we but look beyond the surface. Look at Peter with all his failures: Jesus used each failure to teach Peter something new about himself.

Stop…look…listen…smell…touch…taste….you’ll be surprised at what you discover about God!

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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