Ampleforth Abbey

24 February 2018

Monday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time (2017)

Homily preached by Fr Kieran Monahan OSB at Conventual Mass in the Abbey Church on Monday 24th July 2017

Readings (Year A): Ex 14:5-18, Matt 12:38-43

I find the response of the Israelites disconcerting. God had already worked such wonders for his people while they were in Egypt. They had left triumphantly but as soon as they reach the first hurdle they stumble spectacularly. They would rather be slaves in Egypt than follow Moses, as they seem sure that they will die out here in the desert despite all that God had done. 

We find the Pharisees taking a similar stance by demanding signs from Jesus but what more did he need to do? By this stage he had already cured a leper, healed the centurion’s servant, cured the demoniacs as well as the paralytic. The list could go on and yet they demand a sign – it seems astounding that they did not get it. 

But then I think about myself and realise that I am not so different from the Israelites or the Pharisees. Perhaps it is also true for you. When we are afraid, when we are invited to change, to grow, to have a little faith, we prefer to stay right where we are. It may be slavery but it is familiar. God has worked wonders for us and yet we are afraid, we doubt, we hesitate. We are human after all. But God continues to call out to us to move forward, to trust in him, even when we feel afraid and desperate, perhaps especially when we feel trapped. God will make a pathway for us even if it means through the sea.