HOMILY: 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2020
Three men, a Catholic, a Protestant and a Muslim, were discussing the best positions for prayer. “Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray,” the Catholic said. “No,” said the Protestant. “I think standing with my hands outstretched to heaven is more effective.” “I disagree,” the Muslim said. “The most effective prayer position is bending the whole body and with the head touching the floor.” An electrician happened to be passing by and overheard their discussion. He butted in. “Hey, guys! The most effective praying position I ever had was when I was hanging upside down from an electric post with a live wire right above me because I was able to exclaim...Lord, save me!
We are now on the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings invite us to reflect on the meaning of prayer in our life. Prayer helps us to believe that Christ is real in our life. The gospel which is taken from the Book of Matthew tells us about the experience of the Apostles being battered by a storm. They thought that they were abandoned by Jesus while they were maneuvering over the storm but Jesus was right there journeying with them. They presumed that they saw a ghost but it is Jesus Himself. In prayer, we are like Peter, we ask Jesus to show Him to us. In prayer Jesus is telling us, you are not alone. He is indeed present in our struggles and sufferings. So Jesus told them to take heart, it is I! In Christ, we will never be alone, in Christ we will surely overcome. We just need to walk with faith in our heart and we will never walk alone.
Prayer reminds us that God speaks to us in silence. The first reading which is taken from the First Book of Kings tells us “God speaks in the sheer silence”. It is not so much about what we say to God but allowing Him to speak to us. When we do not know what to do in an unfamiliar situation, all we need is to listen to the One who can help us get through it. We have to be attentive to the Lord for He has the words of wisdom. We say, speak Lord, your servant is listening. It is in prayer that God assures us, let the weak say, I am strong, let the poor say I am rich. Give thanks with a grateful hearts, to the holy one, because he’s given Jesus Christ.
Prayer gives us the grace of unselfishness. This is what Saint Paul’s wish and desire in the Second reading, “ I could wish to be accursed and be cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people”. When we pray to God we do not just beg Him to bestow upon us strength and courage so that we can succeed in our respective lives but we also entrust others that they too may overcome their own storms in life. We do not only think about us, we also think about others. To save others, we have to get out once in a while from our comfort zone to be like Jesus to become saviour to others. This is how to be in the Christian community. We think for each one of us. Unselfish prayer saves everybody. Unselfish prayer makes everybody happy. Unselfish prayer brings everyone closer to God.