ARE YOU SINKING IN PROBLEMS? THE CONDITIONS DIDN'T CHANGE, YOU CHANGED! (Prayer Reflection for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Yr. A)

Have you asked yourself why sometimes we are accustomed to fear, worry, complain and feel abandoned when we pass through difficult moments? No one likes troubles but troubles of life cannot be avoided! No one desires weakness or illness but it comes as we live and grow. One thing is sure, the troubles of life is inevitable, but how have we scaled through all these while? What really happened those moments we didn't sink in the problems surrounding us? If you wish to know read slowly...

 c.f. Matthew 14:22-33
When evening came, he [Jesus] was there alone, while the boat  [his disciples], by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he [Jesus] went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ Peter answered: ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped...

POINTS FOR REFLECTION 
1. The experiences of Peter and that of the other disciples on the sea at night is a factual presentation of the troubles of life. The night and the sea are biblical symbols that portrays "reign of evil" and "the world". Telling us that in the world there shall be moments or hour of evil when we experience a kind of dark night in our souls. Life is full of ups and downs like boat tossed by waves on the sea! Troubles of life is no respecter of person or status, how close you are to God or not! It confronts the great as well as the simple. Elijah, the great prophet of God who prayed down fire from heaven and seized rain in the land of Israel for 3½ years had crises of life (1Kings 19). St. Paul the Great preacher and Apostle to the gentiles also had his share: he faced persecutions from his Jewish brothers! You reading this may be going through your own challenges or may have overcome one recently and as life progresses, will encounter more huddles.
2. But as believers we do not give up or relapse into despair because the one who said to the disciples "Courage! Do not be afraid" and said to Peter "Come" had walked over the sea! Christ's walking on the sea signifies that He had overcome the world and the evils therein. Out of the chaos surrounding you, God will show Himself mighty to deliver you!
3. When Peter focused on Jesus he walked on the sea but when he allowed fear to replace the Word of God "come" he began to sink! Remember the great historical ship Titanic  🚢 with its massive capacity to carry many people and property sank because the sea on which it floats entered into it! You shall succeceed and overcome all the troubles that come your way as long as you focus on the voice of God speaking to you: Come! Courage! Do not be afraid !
TASK: Look into your life and ask yourself: How did I overcome my past challenges? Was it not because I closed my eyes to the threats around me; closed my ears to discouraging voices from down weighers and resisted negative thoughts and evil energies projected by the evil one? Are you sinking now in your challenges? You changed, you switched focus! The conditions didn't change because problems will always be there! Cry to Jesus now like Peter and He will raise you up! Say now: JESUS, HELP ME TO FOCUS ON YOUR WORD IN MY HEART THAT I MAY NOT BE LOST TO THE CONDITIONS AROUND ME. AMEN. Repeat it three times.
I pray for you: May the Lord continue to lift you up as you focus on Him,  and may His grace sustain you through your dark moments and raise you a victor and overcomer, in Jesus name. AMEN.

▪︎Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ

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