1 Kings 19:9, 11-13;Psalm 85:9-14; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Lord was not in the earthquake. (1 Kings 19:11)
How often have you seen a movie where God appears amidst lightning bolts and angelic choirs and then speaks in a terrifying, booming voice? Images like these are so common that we may think that this is how God normally speaks. Add to that all the biblical stories where God intervenes on an even larger scale, and we come away thinking that’s the only way we’ll ever hear the Lord. After all, very few of us are in the habit of being interrupted by a deafening voice or a lightning bolt from on high!
That’s why today’s first reading is such a blessing. It tells us that God doesn’t always thunder from the heavens. Sometimes—quite often, in fact—his voice comes in a “tiny whispering sound” (1 Kings 19:12).
Why would the Creator of the universe talk so softly? Maybe because he wants to teach us how to listen, just as he taught Elijah. Maybe because he wants a relationship with us—just as he had with Elijah—rather than have us live in fear of his showing up.
The fact that we aren’t always being overwhelmed doesn’t mean that God is avoiding us. Quite the opposite, in fact. He’s always speaking! He loves to guide our thoughts and our steps. He loves to open our hearts to his truths and heal us of our hurts. No, God speaks softly and intimately so that we will take the time to slow down. He wants us to learn how to quiet our racing minds so that we can focus on him and his word.
God doesn’t want to overwhelm our eyes and ears every time he has something to say. For one thing, that would get awfully exhausting! But even more important, he wants us to see him as our loving Father, not as a frightening deity. Like any other father, he wants to spend time with us so that we can learn his ways and receive his wisdom.
So sit quietly today. Breathe deeply. And listen.
“Father, help me to still my heart so that I can hear your voice.”`wauPsalm 85:9-14; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33