- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

August 2, 2016

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 30: 1 – 2, 12 – 15, 18 – 22; Ps 102; Mathew 14: 22 – 36

In the Book of Lamentations we read: “The favors of the Lord are not exhausted; His mercies are not spent.” (3:22) This awesome truth can be applied to our practice of Lectio Divina. We can return again and again to a Scriptural passage and never exhaust God’s favor nor come to the end of His mercies. His word is a well of life that never goes dry and draws us again and again to drink from it.

From our own personal experience we know that the Word of God has no limit in its breadth, no end to its depth and its power to transform. By God’s gracious invitation we are drawn repeatedly into the mystery of the sacred word because our God desires us to know Him and to know ourselves.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel – one we are familiar with – it is Peter’s desire that stood out for me – not the whole wish – just a few words – 4 in fact: “Lord, tell me to come to you across the water” – the 4 words: “….to come to You….” Those words speak of love, of a passion, of friendship. And Jesus’ response is immediate, “Come!” His single command also speaks of love, of passion, of friendship.

Among other things, I find in this interchange a lesson on prayer. When we are graced to pray, we consciously enter God’s embrace and walk in His love – love beyond all human love – like walking on water. His “Come” empowers us to be His companion, His confidante in a most personal way, the only way that the Lord communicates with any of us.

Yet, in all this, we still remain human with all that this entails and that means even in this encounter, this “walk on water” we can and often do become distracted. Peter certainly did.

And Peter tells us what to do when our distractions get the better of us. He cried out, “Save me!” And Jesus did at one. “He stretched out his hand and caught him.”

In our personal relationship with the Lord, in those moments of prayer, of responding to His “Come”, the Lord desires our walking with Him, He desires our attention for how else can we come to know:  “The favors of the Lord are not exhausted; His mercies are not spent.”