21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus brings his disciples to a great pagan temple today with hundreds of niches housing the statues of all kinds of different gods. With all these other gods in the background, Jesus asks his disciples, point-blank, "Who do you say that I am?" Most of us have been taught since we were young to answer,"Jesus is God, the Christ." While we might know the right words, our daily actions and decisions also speak on our behalf about who Jesus is to us. In the busy-ness of our lives, does Jesus ever become for us just another concern among all the many others? Does Jesus fade into the background and fill another niche? (I know that's a tendency for me). Or do our thoughts, decisions, and actions invite Jesus to stand front and center in our lives by proclaiming, "You are the Christ, the Son of God!"?
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the Gospel today, a pagan woman approaches Jesus asking Him to heal her daughter. Jesus' actions should bother us: First, Jesus doesn't respond. Second, He rejects her. Third, He insults her. Then finally, when she refuses to stop, He works a miracle for her. What is Jesus doing? He's coaxing out of her an extreme act of faith and perseverance. Have you ever asked for a deeper faith? Does it ever seem like some of your prayers haven't been answered by God? Maybe He's trying to do the same thing with you that He was doing with this woman in the Gospel - maybe He's trying to call out of you an extreme act of faith; maybe He's trying to grow in you a heroic faith!
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus comes to the disciples today walking on the water - that's a Big Moment, a miraculous moment, one that's hard to miss, and it strengthens their faith. Elijah is told in our 1st reading that the Lord will be passing by: there is a great wind, a tremendous earthquake, a blazing fire, and yet, Scripture says, God was in none of those seemingly big moments. Rather, God was in a tiny, whispering voice - a Small Moment, so small it could be easily missed, but just as real as a Big Moment...and I would say even more important! God's ordinary language is in Small Moments, countless little whispers to us throughout the day. He gives us a few privileged Big Moments precisely so that we will continue looking and listening for Him in the hundreds of Small Moments every day.