Nineteenth Sunday in OT                                                                                                                           13 August 2017

Nuclear Warfare; Prayer

There is a great deal going on in our parishes in these days:  the Summer Social (THE event of the summer season at PVSR) next Sunday, our first parish picnic for St. Andrew’s on Tuesday, and VBS at PVSR beginning Monday.  But we are gathered here for the greatest event, the heart and soul of who we are: together for Mass.  Again I am deeply grateful to God for the opportunity to share this with you today.

About 58 years I finished elementary school, leaving St. Bernard’s in Saranac Lake.  Under the tutelage of the Sisters of Mercy, some of whom also taught in Brasher Falls, I enjoyed my grade school years.  Many memories are gone, but some remain with great clarity.  One of those involved crawling down under our desks upon the school’s signal for an air raid drill.

These drills were probably practiced in all US schools in the 1950’s and into the 60’s to prepare us for war time bombing and to assure that we would have a better chance of survival if there should be a nuclear attack.  Now even at the high point of the cold war there was precious little chance that the Russians were targeting Saranac Lake!  Nevertheless, the practice got us thinking about the devastating effect of nuclear arms being released.  I still remember.

That was less than two decades after the dropping of the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It is estimated that 20,000 soldiers and up to 126,000 civilians were killed by the first bombing and perhaps 80,000 in the second.  The devastation was horrible.  We children heard clearly the stories of the devastation unleashed.

With something left of a child’s fear still in my heart, I am deeply concerned about the possible use of nuclear weapons today.  The bellicose ranting of Kim Jung Un scares me.  I also fear the ratcheting of tensions between the US and North Korea.  Even if no one wants war, when parties come to the brink sometimes they can be pushed over. 

Nuclear war is something that cannot be allowed to happen.  The collateral damage in human life alone forbids it.  The devastating impact on the environment is another grave concern.  The use of nuclear weapons in any circumstances would be likely to lead to further use in others, and push humanity into a self-destructive spiral the likes of which we cannot imagine.

What is today’s Gospel about?  If you say it’s about Peter walking on water, I don’t think that is so.  Think of all that was said:  Jesus had fed his people (in the feeding of the 5,000; that pales in comparison to the Eucharist).  The disciples are together: in the boat, always symbolic of the Church. As usual, Jesus did not with individuals alone, but always in the midst of his followers and disciples.

A great storm came up.  The disciples were fearful.  They might die.  And their hearts almost stopped when they saw a figure walking on the water.  It looked like Jesus.  But that was totally impossible!  They must be seeing a ghost!  And in the midst of all this Jesus said to Peter:  Come!  And with his help, Peter walked.  On water!  He trusted.  Jesus helped.  The impossible was accomplished.

We all feel powerless when it comes to avoiding war and conflict.  Perhaps not so!  Prayer can make the difference.  It did in the defeat of atheistic communism.  It can in bringing peace in our world today.  May I ask you to pray earnestly each day for peace?  Entrust it to God’s care.  Jesus will again hold us up.  The Hail Mary prayed once a day is a powerful prayer if we use it to commend our needs to God through Mary’s intercession.  The avoidance of nuclear war and achievement of world peace are grave needs for all humanity.  Live your faith.  Pray for that gift.  Peter and the disciples prayed together in the midst of the Church. God heard and answered.  Can God want anything less for his Church today?

Msgr. John R. Murphy,

Visitation Rectory, Norfolk, NY

 

 

Past Homilies

September 8th 2013

September 15, 2013

September 22, 2013

September 29, 2013

October 6, 2013

October 13 2013

October 20, 2013

October 27, 2013

November 3, 2013

November 10, 2013

November 24, 2013

December 1, 2013

December 8, 2013

December 15, 2013

December 22, 2013

Christmas 2013

December 29, 2013

January 1, 2014

January 5, 2014

January 12, 2014

January 19, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 9, 2014

February 16, 2014

February 23, 2014

March 2, 2014

March 9, 2014

March 15, 2014

April 6, 2014

April 17, 2014 

April 27, 2014 

May 11, 2014

May 25, 2014

June 1, 2014

June 15, 2014

June 29, 2014

July 6, 2014

July 13 2014

July 20, 2014

October 5, 2014

October 12, 2014

October 19, 2014

November 2, 2014

November 16, 2014

November 23, 2014

November 30, 2014

December 25, 2014

December 28, 2014

January 4, 2015

January 11, 2015

February 8, 2015

February 15, 2015

February 22, 2015

March 1, 2015

March 15, 2015

March 22, 2015

March 29, 2015

April 3, 2015

April 5, 2015

April 19, 2015

May 3, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 24, 2015

May 31, 2015

June 7, 2015

June 14, 2015

June 21, 2015

July 19, 2015

July 26, 2015

August 2, 2015

October 18, 2015

October 25, 2015

November 1, 2015

November 22, 2015

November 24, 2015

November 29, 2015

December 6, 2015

December 20, 2015

December 25, 2015

January 3, 2016

January 17, 2016

January 24, 2016

February 14, 2016

March 20, 2016

March 24, 2016

March 27, 2016

April 3, 2016

 

April 24, 2016

May 1, 2016

June 5, 2016

June 12, 2016

June 26, 2016

July 3, 2016

July 10, 2016

July 31, 2016

August 14, 2016

August 28, 2016

September 4, 2016

September 11, 2016

September 25, 2016

October 9, 2016

October 30, 2016

November 6, 2016

November 13, 2016

November 27, 2016

December 4, 2016

December 25, 2016

January 8, 2017

February 26, 2017

March 1, 2017

March 5, 2017

March 12, 2017

March 26, 2017

April 2, 2017

April 13, 2017

April 14, 2017

May 14, 2017

June 4, 2017

June 11, 2017

July 30, 2017

August 13, 2017