Monday, August 06, 2007

Gospel for 7 August (St. Sixtus Pope and Martyr and Companions, Martyrs)

Matthew 14: 22-36 Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,“Truly, you are the Son of God.” After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him,they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

In the OT, God is portrayed as being in control of the sea. To control the waves and the wind is one of God’ powers: (Ps 107) “Some went down to the sea in ships, they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep” or in Job 9:8: “who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea.” Jesus in this episode reveals his almighty power by doing what God does. He even uses the name of God: “Fear not, it is I.” (I am who am.) St Peter’s action seems presumptuous until we realize that he wanted to do what God does, but whereas God “does” by his own nature, we have to “do” the things of God by faith. Peter’s faith was not quite up to this task, but it still allowed him to do something like God, which is an encouragement for us to do the works of God, not walking on water, but bringing the healing works of God into our lives and the life of the Church.
Pope St Sixtus II and his companions ( - 258)
Sixtus was elected Pope in 257. Twelve months later, on 6th August, as he was celebrating Mass in the catacomb of St Calixtus, he was seized by the authorities (it was the time of Valerian’s persecution) and beheaded along with four of his deacons. He was buried in the same catacomb.St Laurence, another deacon, was captured and executed four days later.We know most of the details of this martyrdom from a letter of St Cyprian, who was himself martyred later in the same year.
Collect: Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit you enabled St. Sixtus and his companions to lay down their lives for your word in witness to Jesus. Give us the grace to believe in you and the courage to prefess our faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns iwth you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

No comments: