This refrain from today’s Responsorial Psalm is one we may utter many times throughout life, especially in times of distress. We often ask God to save us from challenges and distresses great and small. In today’s First Reading the prophet Elijah is fleeing for his life. God favors him with a vision of his glory in order to bolster his spirit and to keep him from giving in to despair. In the Gospel Jesus saves Peter from sinking when his faith is insufficient. How many times does God save us in ways we don’t even realize?
The God who reveals himself in the Judeo-Christian scriptures is a God of peace. Note the opening verse of today’s Responsorial Psalm: “I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord—for he proclaims peace.” In today’s First Reading God reveals himself to the prophet Elijah not in the tumultuous wind, earthquake or fire, but in a tiny whispering sound. In the Gospel, in the midst of a storm, Jesus tells his frightened disciples: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” The storm gives way to calm, the fear to peace. This is the God who saves.
The salvation that finally matters is salvation from everlasting death. To live with God forever in heaven is what God desires for all of us whom Jesus has redeemed by his sacrifice on the cross. He invites us to live not in fear, but in faith: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1) The Lord, whose temple we became in baptism, remains with us always: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
This Saturday, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although this year it is not a holy day of obligation, there will be a Mass at St. Charles on Saturday morning at 8:30. The special 4:00 PM Mass at St. Peter’s will also be the Mass of the Assumption. This mystery, celebrated for centuries in the Church, was solemnly defined as a dogma of faith by Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus on November 1, 1950. The dogma is this: “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” (n. 44) The entire document can be found on the Vatican web site <w2.vatican.va>. Go to Pope Pius XII and click on “Apostolic Constitutions.” This document presents the historical evidence of this doctrine as an accepted element of Catholic faith and the justification for its solemn definition.
Belief in the Assumption of Mary is a corollary to her Immaculate Conception. Pope Pius XII states that she, “by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.” (n. 5)
Next Saturday we will celebrate over 150 years of Catholic education at St. Peter’s School and 160 years of St. Peter Parish. There will be an open house at St. Peter’s School beginning at 2:00. The Saturday Mass at St. Peter will be at 4:00. THERE WILL BE NO 6:30 MASS NEXT SATURDAY. Following the Mass, food and refreshments will be available with a musical program beginning at 6:00. All are welcome, but St. Peter’s alumni are especially encouraged to attend.
Please pray the rosary again this week for good weather for the growing season and for protection from severe storms. Pray for the development of a covid-19 vaccine. On this anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki in 1945, pray for peace in the world and for an end to further development of nuclear weaponry.
May God bless his people with peace.