Catholic Sunday Mass celebrated by Fr James Ralston O.M.I., recorded at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Durban, South Africa.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/4jhZrmmBEVI Catholic Link: https://growingfaith.co.za/catholic-link-9-august/ Children’s Liturgy: Download here
ENTRANCE ANTIPHON Look to your covenant, O Lord, forget not the life of your poor ones forever. Arise, O God and defend your cause; do not forget the cries of those who seek you.
FIRST READING: 1 Kings 19:9, 11-13.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 85.
RESPONSE: Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what the Lord God speaks; he speaks of peace for his people and his faithful. His salvation is near for those who fear him, and his glory will dwell in our land. ℟
Merciful love and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have kissed. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth, and justice look down from heaven. ℟
Also the Lord will bestow his bounty, and our earth shall yield its increase. Justice will march before him, and guide his steps on the way. ℟
SECOND READING: Romans 9:1-5.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: Alleluia, alleluia! I long for you, O Lord, my soul longs for his word. Alleluia.
GOSPEL: Matthew 14:22-33.
SERMON: Fr James Ralston O.M.I.
A brief synopsis of today’s Gospel is: the Disciples think they have seen a ghost coming towards them on the sea, while they were battling with the wind against them, hindering the travel of their boat. It would appear as though they had forgotten about having left Jesus in prayer on the shore. But, here he comes to them as though floating like a shadow over the turbulent waters to save them from a more dangerous situation. Above the noise of the wind and the waves the sound of his voice reaches them. Peter, who usually seems to be a bit on the slow side, hears him and responds by leaping out of the boat to move towards the Lord, but the pressure of the squall causes him to take fright and begin to sink into the water. Jesus says to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Hearing the voice of him who encouraged his enthusiasm, Peter rises from the grave situation in which he was foundering. The waves subside, the storm dies down and those in the boat, their tensions eased, surrender their hearts in their own turn to the current of faith.
It is quite easy to discern the teaching that Matthew gives through this symbolism of this account on the Sea of Galilee. On the unfriendly sea of this world the vessel of the Church ploughs through the waves, under attack by evil. Her Master seems not to be in the little boat: his expected return at the end of the frightful night. Here and now the Church will only make her way to the harbour of Salvation if she believes in the powerful word of the Risen Lord.
We do not have to wrack our brains too hard to recall situations and event that have taken place in the life of the Church that could be likened to the episode related in Matthew’s Gospel passage of today. The scandals and misinformation that have rocked Her over the centuries; these have been quelled by Her Master and the turbulent seas of evil have once again not been able to capsize Her.
I am certain that each one of us is able to identify with this allegory of the boat in the storm. Each of us will have experienced some trying or traumatic event in our lives when we felt that the Lord was not present and we felt abandoned and alone. But we are not abandoned and alone because the Lord approaches us and calls on us to of good courage and sound faith. He stretches out his hand to steady us and lift us from the tempestuous waters of life’s severe challenges.
It is true that the entire world is at present experiencing a difficult passage through raging and blustering times with the Covid-19 pandemic. The counties of Europe experienced a calming of the waters, only to have the storm flare up once again with unpredictable ferocity; countries in Asia and Oceania experiencing similar squalls of varying intensity. It always seems as though it is human nature to begin to despair. But not so!
Archbishop Abel Gabuza, in his letter headed, “The glass is half-full: We are called to hope.”, written to the priests working in the Archdiocese of Durban, wrote, “What we need to state is that God is in this situation with us. God is not distant and far away. God is enmeshed with us in our human situation. We believe and hold that the heart of our identity and mission as members of the body of Christ is the incarnation. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, showed great humility and greatness by becoming a human being and was conceived by the Virgin Mary. We have the ‘Emmanuel – God with us’.” With this encouragement from Archbishop Gabuza, let us be rooted, steadfast, in our faith, hope and love, fervent and committed to our Lord in prayer.
COMMUNION ANTIPHON: O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord who gives you your fill of finest wheat.