Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time: July 31 - Aug. 6, 2005
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Collaborative Ministry Office
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The Eighteenth Week of Ordinary TimeOn the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we celebrate how Jesus fed the crowds by making it possible for the disciples to give the people what they had - which was not enough, but became enough because of the compassion Jesus had for the people. Isaiah 55 invites us to come to the water when we are thirsty, to come and eat though we have no money. We can stop spending on what fails to satisfy. Paul consoles us, too, by reminding us that nothing can "separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."Monday is the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church. Thursday is the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, priest .The first reading this week continues the Exodus story in the fourth and fifth books of the Bible. As the people complain in the desert, Moses says, "I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me." Miriam and Aaron complain against Moses and God defends him. Scouts return from the land promised the people and they grumble against God again and God loses patience with them. At Meribah, the people are without water and are ready to rebel. God tells Moses to strike a rock to bring forth water for them and their livestock. Moses strikes the rock twice, as if to make it work by his own effort, and God disallows Moses from entering the promised land, for his lack of trust. In Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people of God's saving deeds - "The Lord is God and there is no other" - and therefore they must obey his covenant with them.We continue with Matthew's Gospel, and Monday's selection anticipates the upcoming Sunday's gospel about the storm at sea. Peter can walk on water, until he takes his eyes off of Jesus. Jesus seems unworried about the disapproval of the Pharisees, calling them "blind guides." A Canaanite woman appeals to Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus hesitates at first, but her faith moves him and he heals the child. Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say I am?" Jesus singles out Peter for his profession of faith, yet when Jesus tells them of his passion and death, it is Peter who wants to deter Jesus from his mission. Jesus responds by explaining what it is to be a disciple: we'll only find ourselves and the real meaning of life by losing ourselves.Saturday is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Jesus is revealed to Peter, James and John for who he really is in order to prepare them for the scandal of the cross. God witnesses to him: This is my Son; listen to him.On the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Elijah recognizes God's presence in a " tiny whispering sound." In the storm at sea, Peter actually gets out of his boat to come to Jesus but "when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!'"