Jesus does not leave us alone especially in tough times. He stretches out his hand and catches us, so that we may not sink.
The disciples go ahead by themselves in a boat. Meanwhile, Jesus dismisses the crowds. He, then, goes up on the mountain by himself to pray. It is evening and he is still there alone.
And just when the disciples are alone, something happens that frightens them. For the waves toss their boat about due to a wind storm. And worse, it seems to them that a ghost walks on the sea in the dead of the night. And so, they cry out in fear.
We cry out in fear, too, since we are in the middle of a storm, and we feel alone. It is not only the coronavirus and its train of evils that scourge us, but also “social and spiritual diseases,” such as racism. And on top of this, there are those who have visions of a God who sends diseases to judge sinners.
Pope Francis, in contrast, says that it is not the time of God’s judgment, but of our judgment. It is “a time to choose [between] what matters and what passes away …. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to … [the] Lord, and to others.”
We are not alone in hard times.
The one who tames the waters, the waves and the winds is neither a ghost nor a merciless God. Like one whose name is “I Am Who Am,” and who heeds those in straits, Jesus calms us down in our fear. He tells us, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” So, we are not alone.
And he calls us to believe and trust in him, and to fix our gaze on him. For if our faith is little and we lose sight of him, we shall sink. But not to worry, for happen what may, just the same, he will not let us sink.
Though we may start to sink, he will stretch out his hand, yes, to catch us. He will turn our crisis into an opportunity to repent. To live not looking out for our interests, but serving others and being in communion with them.
Such is the life Jesus wants us to lead, a life that is founded on him. Not on triumphalist power. Nor on human respect, social support, and the privileges and booties of the dominant culture. Nor on the prestige and securities of the Church in the past.
Lord Jesus, in order not to leave us alone, you become like us in everything but sin. So that we, in turn, may become like you, make us live, die and hide in you, and fill ourselves with you (SV.EN I:276). Thus, too, we shall serve others even to the point of giving up our body and shedding our blood for them. Of being accursed and cut off from you for their sake.
9 August 2020
19th Sunday in O.T. (A)
1 Kg 19, 9a. 11-13a; Rom 9, 1-5; Mt 14, 22-33