18th Week in Ordinary Time
Sixtus II and Companions / Cajetan
1st Reading: Jer 30:1–2, 12–15, 18–22
This is another word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh:
Yahweh, God of Israel says, “Write in a book all that I have communicated to you,
“Your wound is incurable,
your injury is grievous.
There is no one to plead your cause.
There is a remedy for an ulcer
but no healing for you!
All your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you.
For I struck you as an enemy does,
with a cruel punishment,
because of your great guilt
and the wickedness of your sin.
Why cry out now that you are hurt?
Is there no cure for your pain?
Because of your great crime and grievous sin I have done this to you.
Yahweh says, “I will restore my people into Jacob’s tents and have pity on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt over its ruins and the palace restored on its proper place. From them will come songs of praise and the sound of merrymaking.
I will multiply them and they shall not be few. I will bestow honor on them and they shall not be despised. Their children will be as before and their community will be established before me. I will ask their oppressors to account.
Their leader will be one of themselves, their ruler shall emerge from their midst. I will bring him close to me for who would dare to approach me? You shall be my people and I shall be your God.”
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36
After the crowd had eaten their fill, Jesus obliged his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowd away.
And having sent the people away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. At nightfall, he was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves for the wind was against it.
At daybreak, Jesus came to them walking on the lake. When they saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear. But at once Jesus said to them, “Courage! Don’t be afraid. It’s me!” Peter answered, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you walking on the water.”
Jesus said to him, “Come.” And Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to go to Jesus. But, in face of the strong wind, he was afraid and began to sink. So he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and took hold of him, saying, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As they got into the boat, the wind dropped. Then those in the boat bowed down before Jesus saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God!”
They came ashore at Gennesareth. The local people recognized Jesus and spread the news throughout the region. So they brought all the sick to him, begging him to let them touch just the fringe of his cloak. All who touched it became perfectly well.
The strange incident of walking on water is full of symbolic meaning. It signified the power over evil and death. For Jews it had all sorts of resonance in the Scriptures: god “trampled the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8); “alone… I have walked in the depths of the abyss (Sir 24:5). It is a hint of his identity with God. Why do we remember all these strange stories? Because there is still evil and death in the world, and storms, and panic, and people whose lives are heading for the rocks. And Jesus is still Lord!
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