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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Prayer' - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

GOSPEL AND REFLECTION

SUNDAY 9 AUGUST 2020: NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A

First Reading - 1 Kgs 19:9.11-13

Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord God.

When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 84:9-14. R. v.8

(R.) Lord, show us your mercy and love,

and grant us your salvation.

Second Reading - Rom 9:1-5

I would willingly be condemned if it could help my people.

What I want to say is no pretence; I say it in union with Christ – it is the truth – my conscience in union with the Holy Spirit assures me of it too. What I want to say is this: my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood. They were adopted as sons, they were given the glory and the covenants; the Law and the ritual were drawn up for them, and the promises were made to them. They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

No one lives on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Alleluia!

Gospel - Mt 14:22-33

Command me to come to you over the water.

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’

Gospel Reflection:

Right now, our planet is battered by the waves of pandemic. Our church also knows what it means to be “battered by the waves”. Over its two millennia history, there have been periods of discrimination and persecution against its members. Countless church members have died for their faith, while others have been and are being denied the freedom to practice their religion. There have also been times when the church has fallen far short of its own ideals and has quite seriously betrayed the gospel values it seeks to embody and proclaim. It is presently “battered” by huge even terrifying waves, largely of its own creating. Only God can bring order out of the chaos, and God works through the courageous witness and action of faith-filled disciples.

In today’s gospel, Matthew tells of Jesus astride the waves like the God of Israel in Job 9:8. In Israel’s mythology, the sea represents chaos. To walk on water is to have power and authority to bring order out of the chaos. Matthew presents Jesus as exercising the power of God over the potentially destructive chaos. Jesus makes his claim to divine power explicit in words that echo God’s words from the burning bush: “It is I” (literally “I am”). He tells the frightened disciples to take heart and not to be afraid. Peter, leader of the group, continues to doubt. He asks for a sign and is then prepared to take a risk in order to come to Jesus on the water. He begins to falter when he takes his eyes off Jesus and focuses instead on the threatening wind. Jesus reaches out his hand to rescue Peter. In a lovely gesture, Jesus takes him by the hand and holds him firmly in his grip. Jesus names Peter’s hesitation as a response of limited faith.

Matthew weaves the story of Peter into an earlier story from Mark’s gospel. We can only speculate on the reasons for this. Were Matthew’s communities going through hard times? Were they battered by the waves of conflicting loyalties as they found themselves excluded from Pharisaic Judaism? Was the pressure of separation from the synagogue too great for some, even for those in leadership? This is a telling story for anyone who exercises leadership at any level in the church. It is a reminder to us as disciples to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the source of hope in times of struggle and uncertainty and on the crucial issues that face our planetary home.

Finally, this story invites us to consider the threatening waves created by the undeniable reality of a pandemic in a time of climate crisis. The human community is largely responsible for the climate crisis. The human community must join hands to save what can be saved. The growing commitment to renewable energy provides, for me, a contemporary image of a saving hand reaching out to Earth communities that are in danger of being submerged.

Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

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