B Cycle – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 21
If you have been paying attention to the news lately it seems as if this gospel is speaking of today. The past year has been one of distress, turmoil, and uncertainty throughout the world. Take your pick of topics from the worldwide pandemic, Afghanistan, the economy, the climate debate, energy, race, schools, gender, politics, and a host of other topics have us wondering about the future. If you disagree about an issue, you become an outcast and a threat to others. The words of Christ today are not a comfort as he seems to be talking about the world today and reminding us how one day it will all end with the eternal judgment.
This does not mean we just suck it up and not try to alleviate or be concerned about these issues. We need to understand despite these events we have a mission and a destiny to fulfill. We need to believe there is someone with us to help us overcome the doubt and fear about the future. We may not be able to control some of the broader issues, but we are in control of our response to all those issues and our response to others. This gospel should wake us up and open our hearts to realize God promised us peace, joy, a life full of the certain knowledge God is for us and with him all things are possible.
The real issue is how we react when these things assail us? Do we stand firm in our belief and trust in the promises of God. When God said to us, it is his desire that “none should perish” (Jn.10:28) do we comprehend the depth of that statement. When Jesus says, no one will snatch us out of his hand, he is not boasting he is reassuring us we have nothing to fear. The truth is we have a warrior with us and fighting for us to know we are never alone. Jesus is telling us how much we mean to him and how far he will go for us to be in the presence of God forever.
There is no doubt we live in a troubled world full of trials, tribulations, division, greed, and tyrants who seek to dominate others. But if we look back on history of the world, every generation could say the same things about the world during their time on earth. When was our world ever free from civil unrest, violence, division within and among religions or political systems? All the issues we face today have been evident in the history of the world and every nation.
There is one certainty that has remained and that is God’s desire for us and his plan for us to experience a life full of hope and a life in a world we can only hope for. The issue for us today is there is a sense of gloom and doom for the desire for a seems to be a child’s dream world not the reality we face daily. We must not look at the events and become fearful, instead we must embrace the promise of God that it is his desire all will come to know him and the life he has planned for us. A life where we not only can rise above the issues of our time, but we know our destiny is to live in the kingdom of God on earth; a place where we feel the embrace of God and are strengthened as we face uncertainty in a world being ripped apart by forces beyond our control.
The upheaval we have experienced during the past year seems to have destroyed our peace and faith in God. But that is a lie because it is a grace of intimacy with God, and that is in our control to maintain. It is ours if we trust and believe in God power to help us overcome the impossible. Jesus invited Peter to get out of that boat and walk toward Jesus on the water. Imagine what it took for him to take that first step out of the boat. The challenge of faith is to allow ourselves to respond to the constant challenge to trust more and to never get comfortable with our faith. Christ will always challenge us to do more, trust more and to respond more. If we do, we will receive more and desire the more God wants to give us. . My brothers and sisters, this gospel has to do with not only the future, but it has to do with today and how we are responding to the events which are causing division, fear, uncertainty, and a crisis of faith in God’s presence. It is a time when we now more than ever need to seek the heart and mind of Christ through prayer, reading scripture, seeking counsel and in the community of faith as we worship together.