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Man of little faith

By: Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

The gospel story for this 19th Sunday relates about our Lord walking on water. Somebody joked that he did this because, being a poor man, he could not afford the exorbitant fare charged by the profiteering boat owners!

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When Jesus was walking on the Sea of Galilee at about three o’clock at dawn, his disciples thought it was a ghost.

Peter recognized him. He asked the Lord to let him walk on the water, too (Mt 14,28). He wanted him to suspend the laws of Nature and experience the miracle.

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Peter was very human. Like Peter, we want to see signs and miracles. Some people who have the meansdon’t mind traveling and spendingconsiderable amounts to go to places where miracles are reportedly happening.

There is nothing wrong about that. For them, however, faith in God seems to hinge on miracles only.

The story of the prophet Elijah in this Sunday’s first reading is an object lesson.

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When the Lord told him to go to the mountain because he would pass by, Elijah expected a stupendous event with heavenly fireworks. But God did not appear in a mighty wind, or a great fire, or even in an earthquake. Instead, to his amazement, Elijah felt the divine presence in a breeze so gentle that it was like a whisper (cf. 1 Kgs. 19,9ff).

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FAITH AMIDST TRIALS. The second lesson of the gospel episode concerns faith. When Peter felt threatened by the storm and the big waves, his faith faltered. Jesus censured him for his weakness. “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

(Mt 14,31).

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The big waves and strong winds symbolize the trials and crisis encountered in daily living. Isn’t it true that when everything is going well for us, more often than not we forget God? But just as some big problem arises like anadvance cancer, the sudden death of a loved one or the loss of property from fire, then we get devastated.

We turn to God and like Peter, cry out, “Lord save me.”

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Finally let’s not forget one important thing. Faith is not fatalism or irresponsibility. It does not mean constant dependence on God for every problem and difficulty which, by the way, is a common attitude among many of us Filipinos.

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Indeed, God does help. But we must not forget doing our part. As the saying goes: “God helps those who help themselves.”

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Let’s pray that when violent winds and gigantic waves of life threaten us, we will not lose hope and the Lord will not say, “Oh you men/women of little faith.”

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LAFF WITH GOD. A little boy approached his aged grandfather and said: “Lolo, why do you keep reading your Bible all day long?” “Well,” explained the old man, “hijo, at my age I am cramming for my final exams.”

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SENILITY PRAYER: Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked; the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. Let me appeal to our readers to help needy seminarians under our “Adopt A Seminarian scholarship program.”

For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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