A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (# 37)

19h Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – August 7, 2005

 

“Lord, Save Me!”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a // Rom9:1-5 // Mt 14:22-33

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS

 

The need for deeper faith permeates the Gospel reading (Mt 14:22-33) of this Sunday. The biblical scholar, Eugene Maly asserts: “No one could miss the theme of faith in the Gospel story. In the early morning Jesus appears to the disciples walking on the waters. Fearing a ghost, they are assured that it is the Master. Then Peter, impetuous as ever, asks to come to Jesus on the waters. But his faith fails him and, after a tentative beginning, he begins to sink. Jesus saves him but rebukes him for his feeble faith. To appreciate Matthew’s account fully, we must have some background information. To the best of our knowledge the evangelist was writing for a Christian community composed to a large extent of Jewish converts. At the time of his writing (about 80 A.D.) there was an increasing estrangement between the Jewish people and their former associates in the faith. Christian converts were being more often and more resolutely shunned by members of the synagogue. Matthew’s community was greatly affected by this. Some apparently, in the face of this pressure, renounced their Christian faith. Others were wavering. Matthew wrote his Gospel to bolster their faith. The many stories about Jesus reveal this intent. Our present account is a good example. The fact that Matthew has borrowed the story from Mark (6:45-52) and then added the part about Peter indicates his faith concern. Even Peter, who is the ‘prince of apostles’ in Matthew’s Gospel, wavers in his faith.”

 

St. Augustine exhorts us to contemplate this Gospel episode so that when beset with the turmoil of temptations we could put our faith Jesus, who for our sake suffered death in order to save us: “Look at Peter, who in this episode is a image of ourselves; at one moment he is all confidence, at the next all uncertainty and doubt; now he professes faith in the immortal One, now he fears for his life … Think, then, of this world as a sea, whipped up to tempestuous heights by violent winds. A person’s own private tempest will be his or her unruly desires. If you love God you will have power to walk upon the waters, and all the world’s swell and turmoil will remain beneath your feet. But if you love the world it will surely engulf you, for it always devours its lovers, never sustains them. If you feel your foot slipping beneath you, if you become a prey to doubt or realize that you are losing control, if, in a word, you begin to sink, say: Lord, I am drowning, save me! Only he who for your sake died in your fallen nature can save you from the death inherent in that fallen nature.”

 

The great theologian, Romano Guardini gleans from this Gospel episode the meaning of faith as a personal response to the reality of God living in Christ: “The passage contains one of the most important revelations of the nature of faith. What the believing soul experiences is not a “truth” or a “value”, but a reality – the reality. Which? The reality of God in the living Christ. In the midst of all that is known as the ‘world’, there rises a point that does not belong to the world, a place into which one may step, a room one may enter, a power on which one may lean, a love to which one may give oneself. This is reality, a reality different from the reality of the world, more real than the world. Faith is the act of seizing this reality, of building one’s life on it, of becoming part of it.

 

 

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION

by Gerry and May Valle

(Members: ASSOCIATION OF PAULINE COOPERATORS – Friends of the Divine Master, Antipolo Unit, Philippines)

 

      God never ceases to embrace us with his love. For so many times that we have experienced to fall, God is always there to uplift our life, our hope, our spirit, always giving us strength to stand up again. He never turned his back to us even if we sometimes do turn our back to him. He is always there just waiting for us to call on him. How many times that we forget to fulfill our responsibilities as Christians, but God never blamed us or asked us why. He always understands. Many time we hurt God, but never does he leave us. He is always there making us feel his love and care. He may not have done it directly to us, but through others – our family, friends and even those who are not known to us. Prayers give us strength because through them we acknowledged that God exists and is always there for us.

 

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART

 

A.     When we are buffeted by howling winds and violent storms in the sea of life, how steadfast is our faith?

 

B.     Do we dare walk on the “raging waters” on the basis of our faith in Jesus? When we sin and falter, what do we do? Do we have recourse to Jesus and cry out: “Lord, save me”?

 

C.     In the midst of life’s storms, do we seize the reality of God in the living Christ?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD

(Cf. P. Talec, Un grand desire. Prieres dans le secret, priers en commun, Paris: Centurion-Cerf, 1971, p. 112.)

 

Leader: Lord, you are not a God who saves easily.

But as the mountain guide,

you give us assurance …

Make us firm in this love.

Assembly: Lord, when the winds are contrary at sea,

and when the night adds to our trouble …

may your cry reach us:

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Lord, to each of us you say, “Come.”

Speak a little louder … Command that we go to you.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

            “But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he became frightened; and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Mt 14:22-33)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION

 

A.     ACTION PLAN: Pray for those whose lives are in a “raging sea” and beset with trials and difficulties. Pray for the Filipino nation in this turbulent moment of their history. Pray for fishermen and seamen and all those engaged in ministering to their material, moral and spiritual needs.

 

B.     ACTION PLAN: That we may appreciate and experience more deeply the gift of the Eucharistic bread that Christ offers us for the life of the world, and in view of a more meaningful Year of the Eucharist, make an effort to spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration. Visit the PDDM WEB site (www.pddm.us) for the EUCHARISTIC ADORATION THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR (# 37): A Weekly Pastoral Tool for the Year of the Eucharist.

 

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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