I will Hear
(19th Ordinary Sunday: 1 Kings 19:9-13; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33)
The story of Elijah in the cave almost gives the impression that it came as a surprise that God would come to him in “a tiny whispering sound.” After all, in other episodes of the prophet’s life, his relationship to the Lord had plenty to do with fire, and God took him up in a whirlwind.
There is no way to predict when or how God will speak to us. But Elijah stood before the Lord, attuned to his presence, ready to hear and serve.
St. Paul’s conversion is another instance of an unexpected encounter with the Lord. Eighteen hundred years later, no one could have anticipated that Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, with no religious training to speak of, would hear the word of God through the words of a Beautiful Lady.
Today’s Psalm describes a surprising encounter: “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.“ See how these are all intertwined, as they sum up the purpose of God’s interventions, and of Mary’s as well.
We live in a world where peace seems a lost cause, truth is no longer truth. Pilate’s famous question, “What is truth?” is all around us. Sadly, kindness sometimes seems opposed to truth, especially when truth is hard to bear. At La Salette, however, Mary was able to combine the truth of her message with the kindness of her voice and her tears.
Kindness, truth, justice, peace: these lie at the heart of our desire to be in harmony with God, and to live reconciling lives. But how do we achieve that goal?
First, we must recognize and accept that there is no guarantee of success. Even St. Paul, faithful servant that he was, regretted his own failure. Sometimes there is a flicker of hope but, like Peter walking on the water, we can panic and hear Jesus saying to us, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Jesus went up on the mountain to pray. Elijah’s cave was at the mountain of God, Horeb. La Salette is in the Alps. Intense “God moments” are often described as peak experiences. But who are we to decide when, where or how the Lord will speak to us?
It is mostly in hindsight that we recognize God’s voice. When did you last hear it?
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.