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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Aug. 10, 2014

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service


August 10, Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A. Readings:

1) 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a

Psalm 85:9-14

2) Romans 9:1-5

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33

I believe I've experienced the Lord passing by on a mountain as described in today's reading in the First Book of Kings.

My sister Ginger and I were hiking one morning near her home in the high country southeast of Tucson. It was a gorgeous day.

We stopped occasionally to take note of interesting flora and fauna -- she could identify every species. Ginger was an engineer by profession but a naturalist by affection.

While walking, I kept up a steady chatter, but after a short time, my sister gently said, "We can talk later when we get home. Right now let's just be quiet and enjoy being out here."

I wasn't offended or surprised. It was a good idea, characteristic of Ginger, and I was glad to be silent. We passed the rest of the morning with minimal conversation -- together, while being fully attuned to all creation around us. I sensed God there.

When I remember that hike and Ginger's insistence on concentrating on the natural surroundings, it reminds me of how intently Elijah watched for the Lord to pass by on his mountain. He waited, without fear, through a driving wind, an earthquake and fire. Because Elijah was so finely attuned to God, he confidently recognized exactly when God was present.

I believe my sister knew God that well. That was the last time I would be with her.

She died of cancer less than a month later. She had opted not to seek treatment. Ginger was a great believer in the ways of nature. She was fine with it. She kept up the healthiest lifestyle I'd ever seen, and it served her well until her final rapid decline.

Over the years, my sister asked a lot of questions about my church and my faith. But she didn't maintain any religious practice herself. However, she loved unconditionally and lived with goodness and compassion, and just before she died she spoke of her Christian belief.

In today's Gospel, Jesus' disciples were frightened by nature's power until he appeared and calmed that power.

Although my sister rarely talked about her own faith, she had a deep understanding of God through an intimate relationship with his creation. She had no fear. She had peace in God.

QUESTIONS:

How have you experienced God's presence in nature? What feelings of fear or peace did it evoke? How did you respond?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by." -- 1 Kings 19:11

END



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