Mass for Sunday 10 August 2014


My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we are challenged to ask ourselves where we find God.  In this lies an important lesson.  God’s presence is shown and can be discovered in every conceivable place and in a huge variety of ways.  Each of us is challenged to be alert to God’s presence wherever and in whomever God wishes it to be discovered.  It is true we have to be open and alert, but it is also more important that we dare to see God and to seek him out in the unexpected and even the most surprising places.

Today’s Readings give us good example.  Elijah had run away from his role as a prophet to the King to take refuge in the desert and there he looked for God to comfort and strengthen him.  He looked for God in heavy rock, crushing winds, an earthquake or a fire, but God was doing something new.  If Elijah dared to be silent, then in that silence he would allow God to communicate with him. 

The challenge is that in our silence we have to put aside our own plans and indeed our self to allow God to speak and pray within us.  God is a God of surprises; the words of the Psalm, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’

Remember that Saint Paul was converted on the way to Damascus and became an ardent follower of Jesus.  It was often shocking to him that his Jewish brothers and sisters were unwilling to discover God working in Jesus.  Yet there was a long list of ways in which God had shown himself and still people did not receive him.  “Speak Lord, your servant is listening, you have the words of everlasting life.”

It is important for us in a busy, modern world to notice the pendulum must swing between silence and activity.  After Jesus had fed the multitudes with bread, cured the sick and proclaimed good news he went to the mountains to pray because he needed his communion with God.  Then the disciples found themselves in a storm tossed boat and in the midst of their fears Jesus came to calm them, teaching them that there was no conflict or struggle or difficulty or fear so great that it will not be resolved by the presence of God. 

Even when Peter wanted to walk on the water and immediately started to sink when he looked at himself, reminds us of how constantly we keep God in our mind and look for him.  God can be as much in the gentle breeze of our silence, offering us encouragement and comfortably challenging us, supporting and reassuring.  Whether Victor Frankl or Diedrich Bonhoffer in prison, whether it is in the strength we obtain from prayer amidst a huge workload, we need to look for the light of the Lord and we need to trust him.

There may be moments when all we can say is, “Here I am Lord.  If it is you out there, call me to come to you on the water.  I need you to hold me up and keep me going.”  The storm may not calm, but like Elijah and Peter we can trust that we will not go down in it.  At some point the winds will die down, the clouds will break, the sun will return and we will know that once again we have been held safe.

+ Denis J. Hart,


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