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Engaging the Word: August 10th, 2014

Today’s readings invite us to listen to God—and warn us against those “noises” that prevent us from hearing him. In the first reading, God’s mes-sage comes to the prophet Elijah as a “tiny whispering sound” after the distractions of storm, earthquake, and fire. In our own day, too, the Gospel is often difficult to hear because of louder, flashier messages from the media giving us false and negative images of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the Church’s enemies are not shy about loudly going on the attack.

Forces inside us can also make it hard to listen to God. In the Gospel, the disciples see Jesus walking on water, a truly miraculous event. Jesus invites Peter to come to him on the water, and at first Peter goes to him, doing something he never thought possible. But then fear gets a hold of him, and he starts to sink. Fear is one of the devil’s favorite weapons to hold us back. How often do we hesitate to reach out to others because of fear of being rejected? How often do we let fear of giving offense hold us back from speaking up for what is true? Fortunately, when attacked by fear, Peter does the right thing: he calls out to Jesus. When life seems overwhelming or frightening, we can turn to God to give us the courage and the strength to do what we never thought possible.

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