Lectionary Reflections: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a] August 10 2014

Engaging Faith | Wed, Aug 6, 2014

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

August 10, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern


1 Kings 19: 9a, 11-13a

Romans 9: 1-5

Matthew 14:22-33 



August 6: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in 1945 

August 9: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki in 1945

August 11: Feast of Clare of Assisi

August 14: Feast of Maximilian Mary Kolbe

August 15: Feast of the Assumption of Mary



There is a growing awareness of the sublime dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore, to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing ... the right to education, and work...

Vatican II, The Church and the Modern World, #26

We exact your elements to make cannons and bombs

But out of our elements you create lilies and roses.

How patient you are earth and how merciful!

Kahil Gibran

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.

Pablo Casals

…When we seek guidance in terms of discernment and decisions we need to look not just to God in heaven, but also to what is being pointed out to us by the Body of Christ on earth, namely, our families, our friends, our churches, and our communities. … God does not speak to us through séances, and the most important things that God wants to say to us are not given in extraordinary mystical visions. The God of the incarnation has real flesh on earth and speaks to us in the bread and butter of our lives, though things that have skin – historical circumstance, our families, our neighbors, our churches.

Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing, 95

When one lives attached to money, pride or power, it is impossible to be truly happy.

Pope Francis @Pontifex July 24, 2014


Thoughts for your consideration

Today’s scriptures are centered on the experience of God and the invitation to believe. 

Our experiences of God and of faith (belief) have a social dimension.

Our contemporary social, political and economic situation can challenge our faith.  Thoughtful and effective political discourse seems to be missing on many levels. Despite the statistics and “official end of the recession” an economic recession (“the great recession”) continues for many people. New statistics remind us of increasing income inequality in the United States and around the world. The war continues in Afghanistan, Syria, Gaza, the Ukraine, Iraq, and many other places. Fear of violence dominates our thinking and planning.  Poor folks are struggling. Injustice abounds. World problems, along with local problems and personal problems, can overwhelm us.

For serious Christians, the existence of war and violence, the prevalence of injustice and poverty, a certain widespread apathy about all these things, and the shear volume of issues and needs, can feel like the storm in the gospel or like the winds, earthquake and fire in the first reading. Demands on our goodness, can rightly make us want to get away from it all, like Jesus who dismisses the crowd and goes off to pray. At the same time, somehow in the midst of all the storms, God can be experienced, we can even grow in our faith, and we can get into action to do something. We might even “walk on water” for a little while with God’s help. 

Getting away from it all, can be a good thing. Jesus (in his prayer on the mountain) reminds us of the need we have to get away, connect with God, and take care of our spirits as we struggle to continue in our ministry and deal with the contemporary social situation. Rooted in real experience, reflection and prayer is critical. All men and women, especially those who are poor or struggling for justice, need time and resources to take care of themselves and to nurture their life and solidarity with God and others. Every person is a being worthy of dignity, respect, and even leisure.

Elijah (in his prayer on the mountain) reminds us that our faith is not to be based on religious excitement or fireworks. We don’t need the spectacular to find God. Getting fixated on special external religious phenomena can keep us from finding God. Real faith is a much different thing. Real faith is something more than a “spiritual high.”  It is involved with the issues of the world. It involves humble service and solidarity with those in need and even sometimes, as in the second reading, feeling “great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.” Such solidarity can be empowering for us and for all those we are with.  Then, we might experience anew, the God in the “tiny whispering sound.”


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

  • What world or local political or social problems challenge you and your faith?
  • How do you deal with the demands and challenges?


  • When have you had a significant experience of God?  
  • How did it affect the way you live and treat others?


  • How have you experienced the recent political discourse over the debt ceiling?  
  • How did this “storm” challenge you and your vision or faith?



Read this parable of peace building:

Consider this Parable of “Peace and Love”

Three dogs were basking in the sun and conversing. The first dog said dreamily, “It is indeed wondrous to be living in this day of dogdom. Consider the ease with which we travel under the sea, upon the earth and even in the sky. And meditate for a moment upon the inventions brought forth for the comfort of dogs, even for our eyes and ears and noses.”

And the second dog spoke and he said, “We are more heedful of the arts. We bark at the moon more rhythmically than did our forefathers. And when we gaze at ourselves in the water we see that our features are clearer than the features of yesterday.”

Then the third dog spoke and said, “But what interests me most and beguiles my mind is the tranquil understanding existing between dogdoms.”

At that very moment they looked, and lo, the dog-catcher was approaching.

The three dogs sprang up and scampered down the street; and as they ran the third dog said, “For God’s sake, run for your lives. Civilization is after us.


Actions - Links

Pope Francis: 10 tips for peace and happiness can be read at:

"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.

Peace for all in the Holy Land

Urge President Obama, your Senators and your Representatives to end the violence and support peace for all in the Holy Land. Send an e-mail today. To take action on this issue, click here: 

Join Maryknoll's Call to Care for Creation

“The nations of the world will gather at the United Nations in New York City in September to discuss the critical issue of climate change.” Please consider adding your name to a petition to President Obama and members of Congress, urging the U.S. “to take a strong leadership role at the gathering and commit to: legally binding solutions that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions and providing meaningful support to help poor and vulnerable communities at home and abroad develop low carbon and climate resilient societies.” 

Jesuit Action Alert: Protect Children and Families Fleeing Harm in Central America[capwiz:queue_id


“Crazy Facts”

By the Numbers: US Poverty, Updated July 24, 2014

  • US poverty (less than $19,090 for a family of three): 46.5 million people, 15 percent
  • Children in poverty: 16.4 million, 23 percent of all children, including 39.6 percent of African-American children and 33.7 percent of Latino children. Children are the poorest age group in the US.
  • Deep poverty (less than $11,510 for a family of four): 20.4 million people, 1 in 15 Americans, including 7.1 million children

How Rich Are You?

“HOW RICH ARE YOU? Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world. Wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where would you sit on one of those lists? Here's your chance to find out.” Follow this link:


Prayers of Intercession

Response: Let us not be afraid. Let us be strengthened by God. 

Let us build a world of justice for all.

For those who discouraged by the politics of the day, we pray….

For those who confused by the complexity of our economic situation, we pray….

For those who are suffering from loss of employment or a declining income, we pray….

For those who have lost homes or are in danger of losing their homes, we pray….

For those killed in the terrorism in Gaza and other places of fighting, we pray….

For all those caught up in war and violent situations of all sorts, we pray…..

For the nations that continue to spend billions on nuclear weapons, we pray….

For those who enjoy a wealth of material things, we pray…..

For those who find themselves apathetic about the needs of others, we pray…



Prayer for Peace

Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. 

The Tanakh, Micah 4:2-5,


St. Theresa on Christ Today

Christ has no body now but yours,

no hands but yours,

no feet but yours.

Yours are the eyes thought which 

Christ’s compassion must look out on the world.

Yours are the feet with which

He is to go about doing good.

Your are the hands with which 

He is to bless us now.

- Attributed to Saint Theresa of Avila