August 03, 2020 (Monday of Week 18 Year II)
Do not be afraid…
Dear friends in Christ, is there any individual effort that can truly solve a problem? Only God has such powers. Prayer and following Jesus teaches us to believe in divine providence.
The first reading of today (Jeremiah 28:1-17) showed the rivalry between Hananiah the prophet of the opposition, who was interested in pleasing the people and Jeremiah the prophet of God. For political reasons, some people were interested in an alliance with Babylon while others supported an alliance with Egypt. Jeremiah however, was not in support of any of such alliances. Babylon broke into Jerusalem and carried off the Temple treasure with the king and the nobles of Judah. Jeremiah called on the people to return to God to avoid something worse. To demonstrate the subjugation of the City, he wore a wooden yoke. Hananiah however challenged him and made a false prophesy concerning the return of the exiles and treasures within two years; he then broke off the yoke on the neck of Jeremiah. God however told Jeremiah to prophesy that he will now make the yoke of iron and that Hananiah will die that same year. He actually died within three months. The Temple itself was destroyed in 587 B.C. Listening to God is more important than sacrifices and offerings. Beware of the false prophets in your midst.
The gospel of today (Matthew 14:22-36) tells us that after the heavy day's work, Jesus went away to a quiet place to pray. Prayer refreshes us spiritually to achieve even more. Another important lesson is on the total abandonment of the self to God. The disciples were in the boat and making their way to the other side of the sea but couldn't reach their destination, after an all night battle with the headwinds. In the fourth watch of the night, they saw something like a ghost on the sea coming in their direction. You could only imagine how scared they were. The raging sea was enough trouble and now a ghost. It was however Jesus, coming to their aid in their need. "Courage! It is I, do not be afraid." Peter however went a bit further by asking that the Lord should tell him to come, an invitation he got; and surely he walked on the sea till he looked around him, became afraid of the force of the wind and began to sink. In that moment, he called on the Lord and the Lord rescued him. Like Peter you can walk over the storm of your life if you have faith. Even when the storm seems to overpower you, remain focused on the Lord and he will deliver you. Jesus said to Peter, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt." This event made the disciples stronger in faith as they acclaimed, "Truly, you are the Son of God." Do not be afraid, the Lord has power to calm all your troubles. Trust in him always.
Let us pray: Lord, I trust in your love for me, fill me from your goodness. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Amen