Wednesday 2 July 2014

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Do you love God? Are you comfortable being in His presence? Or do you fear Him? To some cultures, God is a distant, strict, fierce and frightening being (don't play play with God, as some of these cultures may think). Some of these cultures think that God needs to be appeased with gifts and sacrifices such as fruits, food, candles, incense, prayers and even animal sacrifice (which, in some cultures may include human sacrifice), failing which such cultures fear that God may be swift to punish them or some sort of disaster may occur. But what about us? What is your impression of God? Are you afraid of God like some of these cultures?

In the first reading, Elijah encounters God not in the powerful forces of nature such as wind, earthquake and fire. God comes to Elijah in the form of a gentle breeze. God is not waiting to bring destruction to anyone as some may believe, but God comes close to us and invites us to enter into a relationship with Him. He comes in a gentle and peaceful way, beckoning us to come closer to Him. In the Gospel, the disciples were frightened to see Jesus walking on the water, and they thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus assures and comforts them by saying, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid!” It is Jesus who guides us throughout our ups and downs, and sustains us at all times.

Thus, we do not need to fear Jesus. Instead, we can approach Jesus with trust and love, because we know that He loves us and cares for us. In the same way, we can also approach God. We do not need to fear Him, for He is a gentle and loving Father, compassionate and merciful to all. In the same way, we too should follow Jesus' and God's example by being gentle, loving, compassionate and merciful to others around us. After all, we call ourselves sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we able to let go of our pride, prejudices and preferences, and love others just as God loves us?

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