Bulletin: August 09, 2020
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
A “LITTLE” FAITH
In Matthew’s Gospel, Peter often serves as a representative of Jesus’ other disciples, and of all who strive to follow Jesus. When Peter desires to imitate Jesus by walking on the water in the middle of the storm, maybe wishing to show how strong his faith is, he encounters his own limitations and his need to be rescued by Jesus. Jesus then says to Peter, with tenderness as well as with challenge, “O you of little faith.” Jesus accepted the fragile and limited faith of Peter and the other disciples and loved them unconditionally.
The early church identified with Peter, as people with a “little” faith. Their faith was not fully mature, or as extraordinary as others’ faith might seem to be. But they knew that their faith, however small or imperfect, was real and true. We might remember that our own “little” faith is cherished by God. God loves us as we are, and always seeks to form us toward a fully mature Christian life of faith.
GROUNDED IN GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
Today’s passage from Saint Paul’s letter to the Roman begins an extended reflection, in Chapters 9–11, of Paul’s coming to terms with the mixed but generally negative reception of his fellow Jews toward his proclamation of Christ. He was concerned for the Jewish people certainly, but also for the members of the early church, who were both Jew and Gentile. His primary concern was that their Christian faith should always be grounded in God’s faithfulness. So Paul rejected any notion that God somehow had abandoned Israel or God’s covenant with them.
As Catholic teaching confirms, especially in the Second Vatican Council, the Church shares with the Jewish people in the tradition of God’s faithfulness. We are to acknowledge and repent of the Church’s participation and complicity in the darkness of anti-Semitism, both in the past and today. We pray continually with and for the Jewish people as our sisters and brothers in faith.