He is with us even after the end of our days
Homily for Aldersly Garden Retirement Community
outreach Church, skilled and acute ward (ECHMM)
Sunday, August 8, 1999
Homily by Peter Menkin
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. Matthew 14:22
What is most amazing to me in this reading of the Gospel is the presence of the Holy Spirit. When I read Matthew, and that is our reading today, I find that it contains a dismissal of the crowds by our Lord. The joy of the message of this part of the life of Jesus Christ is that he has in his great love left us with a promise to be with us, and to know him as the Lord. We are fortunate that we may allow ourselves the pleasure to continue in prayer with the understanding that the disciple's, too, were many times in doubt and confusion. Even Peter, who failed so many times in his faith, was heartened by the willing hand that Jesus reaches out to us in those times when we are alone. This aloneness that is experienced from time to time is described in a poem by the present Pope, John Paul II. His book of poetry called The Place Within is part of my summer reading program.
Like the disciples, and like many of us experience, these times when the Lord has left us are moments, seemingly hollow without hope. In fact, as we live them we live them as they are hollow and without hope.
Let us seek the Lord. The Good News is Christ gives of himself to us to know him as a way in our journey to Easter, and the life to come. It is by the very "sparks" of His [as capital "H" for God the Father] mouth that we are saved. When we are alone, or seem to be dismissed by God, and are hollow so that there is so little for us, the reality is that the Holy Spirit is available.
And this too: The Spirit of Christ, a living presence that clearly declares he is with us even after the end of our days, or the end of Church today, or the hollowness that we experience at times in our lives. Christ is for us in our lives and in the time of our death. This is how we get to know Him as Lord, through these passages and ways, these venues, and sparks, these even "empty shores" when the slightest weight is too much for any of us. Like Peter, we walk on the water with Christ for he is with us and reaches out his hand to us to help us along the ways we must go as we hasten to our heavenly home.
The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II, translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz, "Schizotymik: the Polish title refers to a term in Ernst Kretschmer's typology, denoting a person immersed in himself and isolated." Pg. 79.
The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II, translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz "There are moments, hollow without hope;/ will ever light up a thought,/ ever strike warm sparks from my heart?" pg. 79.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha . Jesus… "Was far from the land, Greek literally 'was many stadia from the land'… 'in the fourth watch of the night' (the fourth watch was from 3 to 6 a.m.)" from the notes pg. 22 NT Matthew 14:22-36.
Photographs by Henry Worthy, Camaldoli Oblate, London.
--Peter Menkin, Obl Cam OSB