Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 12-13
Matthew 14:22-36, or Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14
I am not a man of great faith. Today's readings show I am
not alone. As a scientist, it is my nature to question. This extends
to questioning the religious customs around me. Like Aaron in today's
reading from Numbers I find myself asking, "Is it through Moses alone that
the Lord speaks? Does he not speak through us also?" In a world
dominated by relativism, I continue to believe it up to us to determine who
is the prophet. I hope my end is better than that of Aaron and his
In the Gospel, I find it easy to place myself in the role of one of the
apostles. I am comforted that the founders of our faith had their fears
and their doubts. Today's Gospel follows the story of the feeding of
the masses. The apostles are portrayed in a world with active signs
of God's intervention. We live in a much more subtle age. In
the same way the Iraqi people want to see the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein,
reports and promises are often not enough to overcome our doubting human
At the end of the Gospel we are treated to the success of those with faith.
"(They) begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed." I see the satisfaction and
confidence of those with a deep faith. I am not there. I find
myself jealous. Reflecting on the Gospel, my mind is more like that
of the apostles who fail to recognize our Lord on the sea than like those
of faith at the end of the passage who identify Him immediately. There
is consolation in knowing how the apostles will progress.
I see the miracle stories of the Gospel carrying still another challenge.
I notice these passages show ordinary people who are drawn to live out extraordinary
things. Without commitment, I see men destined to accomplish only what
men can accomplish. Acting in faith, I see these people realizing experiences
beyond our limitations.
With my doubts and my failings, I have no difficulty with the responsorial
psalm. I recognize I am not the person I might be. I find myself
comfortable praying, "A steadfast spirit renew within me."