June 30, 2015 Tuesday: 13th Week in Ordinary Time
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Matthew 8:23-27)
Today’s gospel tells us that Jesus is asleep maybe because, as a human being, He is exhausted after a day of intense work among His people. Even the raging waves touching the sides of the boat do not awaken Him. But the disciples are afraid because they are in danger. And so they awaken Jesus and ask Him to save them because they are perishing (v. 25). And Jesus calms not only the storm and the sea but also the fear of the disciples who are with Him in the boat. After Jesus has calmed the storm, He says to them: “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith,” (v. 26)?
Therefore this Gospel passage reminds us to examine our faith in relation to our fears. D. A. Carson once said: “Faith drives out fear and fear drives out faith.” Yes we all believe that Jesus is God but do we live each day with the belief and trust that Jesus is truly in control of every crisis situation in our lives? How many times do we call God for help in times of trouble and if we feel that He is not responding immediately, we say: “Jesus, where are you when I needed you most?” We feel that Jesus is sleeping in times of our crises and troubles.
But actually this reveals only our sleeping faith in Him. It is because Christ is ever present to us. The theological definition of the Presence of God is this: There are two ways of looking upon the presence of God. The first is that God is present to us, that is, that we think of Him, and that in the eyes of faith, we look upon His Divine Being as intimately present in the place in which we are. This is called the immanent presence of God. The second is that we are presence to God, that is, He sees us and is always looking upon us so that nothing escapes His observation: words, deeds, thoughts, desires and intentions, and that wherever we may be we may always have Him for a spectator, witness and judge of all that we do. This is the transcendent presence of God. That we should act well or ill, such actions are always in His presence and before His eyes. In other words, He is not sleeping. This is the answer to the question to this young nephew of a priest when he asked his uncle-priest: “Does God ever sleep?” And in our times of trouble Jesus asks the same question: Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Does each one of us recognize the Lord’s presence with us especially when we meet the storms of adversity, sorrow or temptation? Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord is there with the same reassuring message: “It is I, do not be afraid”.
-Rev. Fr. Joseph S. Benitez
Living God, stand by me. Hold me up. Be my strength when I am tired, my inspiration when I am bored, my life when I am listless. Living God, I cannot always meet the standard expected of me, cannot always be the personality I am known for. Abba when I fail, Abba when I stumble, I will rest in your presence. —Edwina Gately