Aug. 13, 2014
By Father William Muench
I can remember so well – this lady had gone through a very difficult time: her husband had gone through a terrible illness and died. I asked her, “How did you ever stay so strong through all of this.” She replied, “Father, if it had not been for my faith, I could not have done it.”
Our faith. We are called by the Lord to be the People of God, a people of faith.
The Second chapter of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) is entitled the People of God. The Council Fathers wanted to make it clear that fundamental to our Church is that we are the People of God.
I want to quote an idea from this chapter - “For those who believe in Christ, who are reborn, not from a corruptible seed, but from an incorruptible one through the word of the living God, not from flesh, but from water and the Holy Spirit, are finally established as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…who in times past were not a people, but now are the People of God.” (from St. Peter’s First Letter).
The Sunday Gospel readings this August are about faith – as the People of God.
There was the story of Jesus walking on the water. It is a story of faith and the following of Jesus. To follow the way of the Lord, we must be ready to walk on water. For you see, the task of every Christian - to make the world a better place – is like walking on water. This is only possible because Jesus is always there to support and guide us.
We are often like Peter in this story. Jesus came walking on the water, catching up to the apostles who have left earlier in a boat. They are spooked and Jesus calms them. “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” he said.
Like Peter in this story we often feel bold. As he said, “Lord, if it is you, command me walk on the water.” Then he gets frightened and begins to sink. He pleads with Jesus, “Lord, save me.” Jesus catches Peter – “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Like Peter we often begin well – doing something good, even great – and then we feel like we are going to sink.
In this Gospel story, Peter is an image, the image of the People of God, ready to walk on water. If we sink, as Peter did, we can faithfully remembering that Jesus will be there to catch us, to support and guide us, his people, the People of God.
Also, this August, we will read the story of the Canaanite woman. Although she was not a Jew, she somehow discovered faith in Jesus. “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David,” she said. “My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
Because of her deep concern for her daughter, she is persistent in faith. She realizes that her only hope is in Jesus. Jesus recognizes something special and grants her request. “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” The Canaanite woman becomes another image for the People of God.
Our hopes and dreams are as great as those of the Canaanite woman, yet, our failings and sins make us hesitant. We wonder if the Lord truly hears us and will ever grant our pleas. I would like to believe that often each of you have experienced a time when you know that the Lord has heard you – watched over you – and helped you.