June 21, 2009
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us cross to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and in your love. I trust in you as the way for me to live. I hope in the power of your cross to free me from all that is not you. I love you and want my love to be more real so that I may imitate your pure and total love.
Petition: Jesus, I trust in you. Strengthen my trust.
1. Waves Were Breaking over the Boat
Just because Jesus is in the boat it does not mean that the waves will not buffet our vessel. Similarly, we cannot grow content just because we are living a life of grace, our prayer is strong, and we are frequenting the sacraments. We must not assume that just because we do as we ought, life will necessarily be smooth and everything will turn out as we wish. The important thing for us is that Jesus be “in the boat” of our lives, especially when moments of crisis and difficulty present themselves. His presence in our lives is the foundation that gives us hope and strength, whether the waters be calm or turbulent.
2. Teacher, Do You Not Care That We Are Perishing?
Anyone who has ever felt the waves of temptation, suffering, injustice and confusion flood the boat of their soul will understand how naturally the disciples’ question bursts forth from the heart. Moments when we encounter forces we cannot always control bring us face-to-face with our own fragility and, at times, our own mortality. What seems to heighten the problem is the sense that all this is happening, and somehow God seems indifferent to it. On these occasions the heart naturally turns to God and asks, “Don’t you care?” -- in other words, “Don’t you love me?” It is precisely here that we must not lose heart. We need to exercise our faith in the face of the winds that blow. Jesus delights in our affirming we know he is present, even though we do not feel he is.
3. Why Are You Terrified? Do You Not Yet Have Faith?
St. Paul tells us that he, too, felt a form of the “waves breaking over the boat,” so he begged our Lord to take away “a thorn in the flesh.” The response he received is one of the great lessons of Christianity: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Once we have freely placed our lives in Christ’s hands (or invited him into our boats) he will always expect us to believe, trust and love him. The path he will mark out for us will stretch our faith, hope and love with the goal of making them grow and mature. To correspond to this expectation, he grants us his grace. It is one of his many ways of saying, “I am in the boat with you, and that is always sufficient.”
Conversation with Christ: Blessed Lord, you know my weaknesses and shortcomings. Despite them, I truly believe that with you in my life I can do all that you ask. In your goodness, grant me the grace to keep my eyes on you even when the winds and the waves of life seem to threaten my well-being.
Resolution: Today, I will make a 10 minute visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
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