We all can relate to today’s Gospel. Storms and raging seas—of every kind and description—are a part of our experiences. As one who enjoys canoeing and kayaking I have on occasion faced sudden strong winds, rain or hail disrupting a blissful outing on the Mississippi or a Wisconsin lake and having to make a fast break to shore or to shallow water. At moments like that one is never sure who is steering the canoe!
Key action in the Gospel is what happens between the beginning of the “violent storm” and the “great calm.” The disciples, of course, are scared to death, they wake Jesus and shout: “Lord, save us. We are perishing.” Once he is alert Jesus not only rebukes the wind and the seas, but he also rebukes his followers when Jesus addresses them as “You of little faith.”
There are many storms in life, some more raging and life threatening than others, but stormy weather nonetheless. We are tossed about in our relationships, workplace, families and school. We are shaken by concerns for our health and that of others. The present economic meltdown has swamped many of us and disrupted our sleep and our employment; war and terrorism, natural disasters and the migration of peoples, all add to the “storms” and “fear” of life. And all the “personal” struggles that you keep inside you test your faith.
When facing these things, how strong is your faith? The Apostles’ momentary lack of faith was reassured and refortified by Jesus’ personal presence and actions; they were amazed that Jesus could master the elements. But unlike them, we should not be amazed by the Lord’s actions or Jesus’ presence around and within us because we know Jesus to be the risen one and worthy of our faith, hope and love.
What is your response when “suddenly a violent storm comes up in your sea of life and the boat is being swamped?” Is it the disciples’ response of fear and doubt? Or is it David’s response in today’s Psalm: “In the Lord I have trusted; I have not faltered. Test me, Lord, and try me; search my heart and my mind.” Or is your response to the storms of life a combination of both faith and doubt?
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