The following Homily is provided by Friar Sidney as a way
of enriching the ministry of the Word as presented through
this web site. Friar Sidney, who has spent much of his
ministry in India, is currently a Professor of Philosophy
in Rome. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The texts
used by Friar Sydney come from the Roman Lectionary - which in
most points agrees with the Revised Common Lectionary.
1 Kings 19:9a.11-13; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33.
Tragedies do occur in our lives. Today, let us learn how to face
The two largest democracies in today's world have one thing in
common. Both of them have had a famous family that has had to
taste a lot of tragedy.
In India, it is the Nehru family. Indira, the daughter of Pandit
Jawarharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, was shot at
close point. Her two children, both boys, had tragic ends. The
younger son, Sanjay, entered politics early on. He died in a
mysterious plane crash early on in life. The elder son, Rajiv,
became a pilot, early on. Later, when his mother was shot, he
was forced to lead the Congress Party. He also became a Prime
Minister of India. He also was shot. It is a story of a great
family with as great stories of many tragedies.
In the United States, just some weeks ago, the news of John F.
Kennedy's, Jr., plane crash hit the news. His father, a
President of the United States, and his uncle, an Attorney
General, had both been shot. His mother had died of cancer.
When such tragedies take place, we often conclude that there is a
curse on the family. And so did it. I saw some headlines
mention it: The curse of a family!
I was pained reading such a headline. I wonder what the near and
dear ones of the family felt. My sympathies are with them.
But this is a real problem in life.
Do tragedies occur because we have been cursed? If God is a good
Creator, how does He allow a curse on our lives to take its toll
on us? Why does He allow us to be swept off by strong winds?
Why does He allow us to be totally shaken and shattered, as if an
earthquake has overtaken us? Why does He allow us to be
swallowed by torments as huge as mighty waves of a stormy sea?
It is true that our lives can often be very turbulent. A mighty
storm, a devastating fire, a destructive earthquake --- these are
vivid images that best describe such situations in our lives.
These are the images described in today's readings. The second
reading even describes a mental anguish that haunted St. Paul.
He often was obsessed with the lot and destiny of his Jewish
brothers and sisters.
It is St. Paul who also gives us a clue. Despite all his anguish
about the lot of his Jewish brothers and sisters, he has this to
tell us: From their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all!
The Gospel confirms this. The Gospel tells us of Christ walking
amidst the stormy sea. The sea, for people in those days, was
the symbol of the seat of the forces of Evil and Calamity.
Christ is presented as Lord of the whole Universe. He prevails
over the forces of Evil and Calamity. He does so in a calm and
This calm and reassuring way is described in the first reading.
The prophet Elijah recognizes God not amidst the stormy winds and
the devastating fires. He recognizes God come in the gentle
breeze. He covers his face. He stands at the entrance of the
On other words, nothing can prevent the God of Life from reaching
us. Storms and devastations can prevent us from standing before
the God of Life, only if we allow ourselves to run amuck them.
If we are calm amidst the storms and devastations of life, if we
preserve our faith in God, we will see our way to life. Do we
foster such faith in our God of Life as did Elijah? That is the
big question. Shalom!
copyright - Friar Sydney Mascarenhas and Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1999 - 2005
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.