Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily


Reading                                                                                                               1 Kings 19:9A, 11-13A

At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.  Then the Lord said to him, “Go outside and stand before the Lord; the LORD will be passing by.” 

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD —

but the LORD was not in the wind. 

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.

After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.

When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.


Gospel                                                                                                                                 Matthew 14:22-23

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.  After doing so, he went up on the mountain himself to pray.  When it was evening he was there alone.  Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 

During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 

“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.  At once Jesus spoke to them,  “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.”  Peter got out of the water and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 

Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 

Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”



What were you doing at three o’clock this morning?  Unless you just got off work, most of us were sound asleep.  Have you ever noticed the difference when something happens during the night as opposed to the day?  I know when my phone rings any time between 12 and 6 a.m., it’s the hospital calling. 


Jesus tells us it was in the fourth watch, that’s 3 a.m., when he came walking across the sea in the darkness of the night.  And he said to them, “I’m here.  I told you I would meet you.”  But they were caught up in a storm.  They were thinking, “Who would be out here yelling at us in the storm?  If Jesus had any sense he’d still be on land.”  But he came to them in the midst of all their doubts and he asked them, “Do you know who I am?”


The first reading is about Elijah and the cave.  He went to the cave because everything going on in his life was not working out.  And he decided, “If I just go in this cave, I will be away from everyone.”  It wasn’t until he heard that inner voice that said, “Come out of the cave.”  And it was when he came out of the cave that he heard the whisper of God.


You and I spend a lot of our time in a cave or in a boat.  God is always coming to each one of us and saying, “Will you please come out?  Why are you hiding?  What are you afraid of?”


We’re kind of afraid and wonder, “Does God really love me?  Is he going to help me?  When I cry out sometimes he doesn’t answer.”  And God says, “I always answer, but if you are in the cave you don’t hear my answer.  And if you’re frightened in the boat, you won’t walk on the water.”


Then our question becomes, “Then how do I know?”  And God answers, “You simply have to trust.” 


These are some of the hardest things in our life to do: 

to trust ourselves,

to trust our neighbor,

to trust God. 


It just seems that things go on, and we want an answer, and God says, “It’s not for you to know all the answers.  It’s for you to be able to receive love.”


Yesterday, when the young father was in the house with his two sons, and the house burned — it is difficult to understand.  Two of them so far have died.  Our human answer is, “Why?  What happened?”  God would simply say to us, “Just step out of the boat.  I know you are filled with sorrow; I know you don’t have answers for any of that but I am just asking you to step out of the boat. That house did not burn in anger.”


God looks at each one of us and asks,  “What’s going on in your life?  Number one: If you have something good, are you celebrating it?  Number two: If things are not going well for you, where do you go? Do you crawl back in the cave, do you get in the boat, or do you hear my voice whispering, ‘Be not afraid. It’s me. Take hold of my hand.’ ”


It seems so easy when we speak it in words, but when it comes down to exciting our faith it isn’t always that easy.  That’s why you and I pray for each other. That’s why we are told to love each other and to forgive each other because someone, somewhere in this world, is in a cave.  And someone is in a boat afraid to get out.


So this morning as we come here Jesus is asking us, “Will you please leave your homes and come to a place where you can pray?  And when you receive the Eucharist and you walk out of church — you are walking out of that cave, and you are walking out of the boat.  And you are able to say,  “Yes, Lord.  I know you are in my life.”


It’s amazing how many people can go to Mass every Sunday and pray every day. But when you ask them,  “Is God in your life?” They answer, “Right now, I don’t think so.”

It’s like, why?  Are you just going through the motions of life?  Or is something happening to you, each and every moment? 


God says, “Don’t tie yourself up, but just let yourself go free. That’s my gift to you.”


May you and I remember: When we are in the cave, or when we are in the boat, there is always going to be that voice that only we will hear.  It’s going to be the voice of God saying,  “Do not be afraid, because I love you.”


The voice you hear is the God of your life.


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Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.


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