Sunday, 25 June 2006

The Calming of the Storm

In today’s Gospel we hear the story of a great storm and two different reactions to it. First is the response of the disciples: fear and panic. The Jews were not a great seafaring people and the sea came to symbolize the dark powers of the world – in the Old Testament, think of the waters of chaos during the Creation, or the story of Great Flood or the drowning of the Egyptians in the red sea. It is little surprise, then, that the disciples react in this way, crying to Jesus for help – ‘Master, we are going down.’

Jesus, meanwhile, is asleep. Not because He is disinterested but because He has perfect trust. He remains peaceful and still amidst the fear and panic. ‘Why are you so frightened?,’ he finally asks His followers once He has awoken and calmed down the storm, ‘How is it that you have no faith?’ Life is full of stormy weather – strong winds and powerful waves. We can either shout and panic like the disciples, as we ride an emotional roller coaster through the ever-changing fortunes of life, or we can have true faith in God. Perhaps the disciples had a similar reaction at the time of the Crucifixion – ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down.’ We can imagine Christ answering ‘Quiet now! Be calm…How is it that you have no faith?’ And on the third day the storm breaks into a glorious sunrise.

God is in control, even when everything seems to go wrong. That’s exactly what happened to Job – he lost his animals, all his children were killed and he developed a dreadful disease (probably leprosy). He complained to God during his personal storm – and God answered from the heart of the tempest: ‘Who pent up the sea behind closed doors when it leapt tumultuous out of the womb…Come thus far, I said, and no farther: here your proud waves shall break.’ God is the Creator; He is in control; He has His plan which we can’t even hope to understand; He can bring order out of the waters of chaos. Jesus demonstrated this in calming the storm, as He did once more when He walked on the waters.

We need to stay close to Jesus on the boat and rest in His Sacred Heart. After all, Our Lord made great promises to St Margaret Mary for those who had an especial devotion to His Sacred Heart: ‘I will give peace in their families. I will console them in all their troubles. They shall find in my Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.’ In other words, if we live in Christ, if our hearts beat with His Heart, if our eyes see with His eyes, if our will is united to His Will – then we will be granted great peace and security amid the storms of life.

O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy Goodness.


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