Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Honorine Yamba, SNDdeN

Aug 9, 2023 | Gospel Reflections

August 13, 2023

Matthew 14: 22-33

Every time I am in touch with this text I am attracted by the episode of Peter as he approaches Jesus. Today this text touches me differently. Three important aspects attract my attention.
1. Service
2. Prayer
3. Encounter

1. Service: Jesus does not ask the disciples to help scatter the crowds. This would have been very easy and quick. If we were to write a description of the tasks of the master and of the disciple, there would be a clear difference. Who would be of service to the other: the master or the disciple? Jesus always reverses the roles. In the last scene of this Gospel, He washes the feet of his disciples and takes the position of the slave. He preaches by example.

Saint Julie Billiart understood the meaning of service; she served poor and rich, faithful or intractable throughout her life and without discrimination.

How do WE assist those whom we serve? Here, the example of simplicity and humility should challenge us.

2. Prayer: “Before joining them, he went away at a distance, climbed the mountain to pray and be alone.” Matt 14 :23
Jesus, Son of God, knew that without prayer one is empty like an upside-down bottle. Prayer was his priority, his strength, his food. Every person is nourished so as to have strength and energy and to maintain one’s health. We who follow Christ should allow ourselves to be led by his example of silence, for silence nourishes reflection.

Jesus went apart to a quiet place to be face to face with his Father. If we do not know how to stop each day for a time of union with Christ, who are we and what are we becoming? We can become business people, ‘androids’, connected at all times. “Without me you can do nothing” Jesus tells us. The more attached we are to Christ, the more fruitful our work will be. If we neglect silence our heart will be filled with useless noise and disorder. Let us be connected to Christ as much as we are as we can be attached to our telephones.

3. Encounter: The disciples had difficulty with their boat. Fear enveloped them. They did not know what their fate would be. The place where they were would not allow them to reach Jesus; no telephone. To the contrary, Jesus who knew they were in danger, went to meet them. He walked on the water. Since they were not in a prayerful state, their human eyes did not recognize him. Rather than being calm, they were filled with fear and panic and they called out “It is a ghost”. Matt. 14: 26
Do not be afraid, it is I! He continues to call because he knows and loves them just as they are. Do not be afraid, it is I! Jesus does not weary. He continues to care for them because he knows and loves them just as they are.
Let us be moved by the hand of God who finds us on our way when we doubt. He is always watching out for us.



Matthew 14: 22-33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
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 Peter,
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.”




Meet Sister Honorine Yamba, SNDdeN

onorine Yamba was born on December 13, 1950 at Kimpemba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1969. She began her novitiate in 1970 and made first vows in 1972. She pronounced her final vows on September 8, 1981 at Lemfu, where she was on mission. Sr. Honorine has performed many ministries in the province and the Congregation. She was prefect of studies, professor and superior in communities and Provincial Counselor for many years. She also served as assistant director of Novices for two years at Kimwenza. Sr. Honorine was provincial from 1991 à 1996 and was elected a member of the Leadership Team of the Congregation at the General Chapter in 1996. After this service she spent a sabbatical year at Lyon in France at the Jesuit Center “FAS “- Formation, Accompaniment and Spiritual Discernment according to the exercises of St. Ignatius. Following her sabbatical year, she served as novice director in the province of Nigeria for two years. She returned to Congo in 2005 to work in the Diocese of Kisantu’s office of Caritas as assistant director. From 2012 – 2018 she provided service at the Heritage Center in Namur, Belgium. Having returned to Congo in 2018 she was a member of the community of Limete where she performed community service. In September 2020 she became province archivist and serves as a professor in the two formation houses (postulate and novitiate). As needs arise, Sister Honorine animates workshops and provides spiritual direction in conjunction with the Jesuit spirituality center at Manresa. Beginning in September 2021 she has been accompanying Sisters in temporary vows.