Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

I have always been fascinated by today’s first reading, Elijah is told to go to the mountain of God, Horeb, and experience the Presence of God. This was the same mountain that Moses went to when he received the Covenant of the Law of God. So Elijah went up Horeb and hid in a cave. And he did experience God’s presence, only not in various displays of awesome power, but in a tiny whispering sound. The reading ends with Elijah standing at the entrance of the cave[1]. Why are you here, Elijah? the still small voice asks. I have been zealous for the Lord, but the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, torn down the altars of the Lord, and put all of his prophets to death except me, Elijah responds. The still small voice, now identified as the voice of the Lord, gives Elijah instructions on how he will renew the covenant of God with the people[2].

What fascinates me so much about today’s first reading is that Elijah is given a great commission after listening to a tiny whispering sound that was God’s voice. It leads me to reflect on the ways that God speaks to us, as His People and as individuals.

Many times people will wonder why they do not have the experience of God’s Presence that others seem to have. They may be on a retreat, at a prayer conference, before the Blessed Sacrament, or whatever, and see how others are visibly moved by the Presence of God, while they feel nothing. Then they wonder if God is rejecting them. Perhaps we have all felt that way at times. Those are the times that we need to listen to the Lord in the quiet, not seek Him in the thunder.

I am certain that God speaks to each of us in many different ways. There are times that we might just be at peace while others are on fire.  There are times that we may be on fire while others are just at peace.  There are times when we may be fighting off distractions while those around us are in deep communication with God. Even when we have distractions God is speaking to us, for we want to focus on God, therefore we are receiving His Grace. God speaks to us in many wonderful ways.

Sometimes God speaks to us in the decision we make to turn away from a course of action or even a lifestyle that will ultimately destroy us. The closer we come to God, the deeper we realize the intensity of our sins, even sins from many years ago that have been forgiven through penance. We need to ask ourselves, “How did I come to the decision to turn away from a destructive direction?” Then we realize that we experienced God in a way we never expected! God writes straight with the crooked lines of our lives. He turns our sinful behavior into an occasion for drawing closer to Him through our determination to change our life.

Many years ago a famous singer named Perry Como had an original hit based on today’s first reading. It was called The Still Small Voice.  Just pay attention to the lyrics:

            A still small voice will speak to you one day
            A still small voice will call to you and say
            “I am the earth, the sky, the brightest star on high
            The tallest tree, the smallest drop of dew”
            A still small voice will one day say to you.

            The still small voice from every voice apart
            Will whisper in the language of your heart
            “I am the night, the day, the blessing and the way
            The dream that keeps a lonely heart aglow.”

            Once you have the word a still small voice will say
            Your heart will answer, “Yes, I know.”
            Once you have the word a still small voice will say
            Your heart will answer, “Yes, I know.”
            Elijah heard the voice. And he heard the commission. The covenant with Moses had to be renewed. So, listen! Listen to the voice.  To you and to me the voice of the Lord is saying: “Glorify Jesus Christ with your lives.” ■

[1] So here we have the covenant being renewed on the same mountain that Moses received the covenant. Many years later Elijah and Moses would appear together on another mountain, Mount Tabor, the Mountain of the Transfiguration of the Lord, and they would discuss with Jesus the new covenant that the Father would make with mankind through the Body and Blood of the Lord.
[2] 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (A), August 10, 2014. Readings: I Kings 19:9, 11-13; Responsorial Psalm 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris