Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

August 10, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
Psalm 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33

A reflection on today's Scripture:

One of my favorite sayings is "Don't sweat the small stuff!"

How often we worry ourselves sick over some deadline—a report that is due, an inspection of our work, a tough decision about our future—only to wonder the next day why we were so upset and jittery. We get all "fussed up" over nothing. And to what purpose? It only robs us of sleep and peace of mind, and doesn't really change the situation.

How must Peter have felt after Jesus calmed the storm? Of course he must have felt relieved, but probably a bit foolish, too! "O you of little faith!" Jesus chided Peter. That had to be embarrassing! Now, there's no getting around it—trusting in God is easier said than done. When the doctor tells us we might have a tumor, or the boss tells us our job may be terminated, there's reason for concern. But if we fall to pieces over the news, then there's something we lack—namely, courage and confidence in God! Is God in charge, or is He not?

And think of Elijah in today's first reading! [Editor's note: for reference, read all of 1 Kings, Chapter 19.] Elijah's whole challenge to the prophets of Baal took immense courage. Some would label it foolhardy. He told the King to set up two sacrifices, one to Baal, and one to the God of Israel. It was a test of which deity would send down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices. To make it more difficult, Elijah dumped water on his offering. What a risk he took! After all, what if God didn't go for that kind of challenge—to set on fire some soaked oblations placed on top of thoroughly soaked wood!

Of course, God did meet the challenge. And Jezebel was furious, as Elijah knew she would be. As a result of his smashing success, Elijah put to death the four hundred false prophets, and then had to run for his life. Jezebel had put a contract out on his life! Some days and many miles later, he dropped to the ground exhausted. Elijah was so discouraged that he wanted to die! And what did God do? He spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper! And that calmed him down! In effect, God said to him, "Elijah, don't sweat the small stuff."

So, Elijah got up and ate, and on the strength of that food, he walked for forty days and forty nights! Now, that may sound far-fetched, but just think of your own experience. Have you ever noticed how discouragement saps our strength and weakens us? And then, a good sleep, along with a word from a friend or a pat on the back, energizes us in the twinkling of an eye, and we are able to face our problems.

People, prayer, and especially God's grace can provide us with fast soul food. The best soul food is the Eucharist. God tells us over and over again, "Come, all you who are weary, and I will refresh you." When we have been strengthened by the Body and Blood of Jesus, we know that Jesus is with us in our difficulties. What seemed so frightening often shrinks into "small stuff."

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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