Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Cover Art, Column, and Prayers of the Faithful

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Bulletin Column

August 9, 2020

Dear Believers in the Christ,

I grew up on a small lake in Michigan. Often during the summer while enjoying boating, swimming and water skiing, an afternoon storm would blow across the lake. We learned to spot the warning signs.  White caps whipped across growing waves. The oak leaves on shore would flip bottom side up in the wind. The water turned a deep blue-black. We learned that we had about ten minutes to dock the boat and to get to safety on the shore.

Today’s gospel, Matthew 14: 22-33, shows us a summer storm. The disciples do not make it to safety, so Jesus walks on the water. In the panic of the disciples, Jesus offers them words of hope once again, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

We hear this invitation of Jesus differently this summer. The storms of pandemic, financial misfortune, academic uncertainty, civil unrest from generations of racism, have toppled our control and overthrown our lives like nothing else in this generation. Our young people will hold this summer in their memories for the rest of their lives. They will continue to live out their fears for many years to come.

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” is the promise of Jesus no matter the storm and the its consequences. This is our faith as Christians. We possess a moral obligation to reach out to our young people, our family members and strangers alike to help each other in the storm. I worry about our next generation, our youth, our children who have a growing sense that this storm is too overwhelming.

Many of our teens and young adults are living in fear. We have to be on the lookout for those who want to give up. We must be attentive to those who slip into despair. Please do not hesitate to get professional help for anyone who is struggling to cope in the storms of this summer. Please be attentive to our teens, most especially.

Our history of faith reveals to us that we have an opportunity to enter the storm and be changed by it for the good. However, this takes time and perspective and real honesty. We have an opportunity as families to explore how this summer storm can change our lives and perspectives about the value of life, the beauty of being alive, and the courage it takes to be human and in relationship with others. Getting to this new shore, this new perspective, takes much work on our part, both at home and within the Church.

Perhaps this is the summer even though we are not together when we really learn to lean on the mystery of community and the Church. Perhaps this is the time when we can accompany those who may want to give up and share with them the value of what faith is all about. Hope buoys fear. Hope is a lifeline that we all need in these days of uncertainty. Love is not a wasted value in stormy times. Faith helps us get to the other side, the shoreline where rest restores us. These are not pious words, but the mystery that endures in Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

As we listen to this gospel story today, we take note of the word, “courage”. Jesus speaks to the disciples, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Courage is not just a grand or heroic notion. “Courage” comes from the Latin word, “cor” which means, “heart”.  In French, Sacred Heart is “Sacra Coeur”. In the center of our fear then, we are to invite Jesus into our hearts because his heart will calm us. The Heart of Christ, the Sacred Heart will show us how to navigate our storms. His Heart will reveal to us how to pray and how to live and how to serve. The Sacred Heart will lead us to the other side of the virus, if we have the courage and faith to offer him our fear.

No matter the storms we face in our lifetime, we turn in faith the one who walks on water to save us. The Sacred Heart of Jesus instills courage within us to move to safety, to travel back to shore with delight and hope. The Sacred Heart also shows us how to walk with people in the storms. Courage means that we give our hearts to people. Courage invites us to share our hearts with the lost, the forgotten, the orphan and the widow and the one who fears the virus. Courage is heart to heart hope in Jesus.

Take courage. Take heart. Storms pass. Love prevails.

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron

 

Prayers of the Faithful

August 9, 2020  Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray for Church authorities and leaders across the world, that they may help transform apathy into compassion, hopelessness into contentment, and hatred into peace.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for all who face the storms of fear in these days of pandemic, that families may lift up loved ones with faith and courage.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for those who are lost among the waves of despair and discouragement, that they may rest their hearts in the consolation of Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who are greatly affected by these times of uncertainty, unemployment, and disillusionment about racial divides, that God may lift them to the safe shore of comfort and love.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our families and friends who are ill, that comfort and reassurance from the Heart of Jesus may guide their unsteady futures.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our loved ones who have died, that they may now rest upon the eternal shore of heaven. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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