Storms and Gentle Breezes – 19 Sun. Year A

As somebody once said, we have the misfortune to live in challenging times. Covid-19 is having a field day, influencing societies and individuals everywhere, threatening and too often taking our lives. The dark cloud is making us rethink the ways we live and interact. Where is God?  Elijah heard him in the sound of a gentle breeze. The gospel story reminds me of the Breton fisherman’s prayer, “O God, thy sea is so vast and my boat is so small.”

Our lives have often been compared to a journey through the desert. In light of this gospel life can be compared to a sea voyage. Jesus launched the disciples and said he would meet them on the other side of the lake, as if battling a wild sea was little ado about nothing. Winds tore the seas apart as they settled into the hard labour of rowing through the night, the little boat bounding on the waves. Then, out of the darkness they saw a mysterious ghost-like figure walking towards them.

“Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.” These words were familiar to Peter. He would have heard them in the Capernaum Sabbath services. And the psalms frequently referred to God’s power over water, the most unruly of forces. Maybe walking on stormy waters is something this God was likely to do. Peter had a strong hunch as to who it was and wanted to test it. “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.” “Come!” Peter jumped and the rest is history.

We discover who God is and who we ourselves are when we exchange the security of our boat for trust in God. Trust is at the heart of what it means to be human. “People often see religion as an anchor of security instead of as a source of transformation” – Thomas Casey sj, Wisdom at the Crossroads, p.95. Christ calls people to transformation more than to religious security and making it to heaven. “Choose what you want most, not what you want now” – Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989.

“People can reduce Jesus to a model of morality and identify their faith with Christian values. ‘Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice, but encounter with a person who gives life a new horizon’ (Benedict 16th, 2005). If faith is only morality, we forget the gospel’s most personal question: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Augustine suggested two steps to answer that question and to escape from moral approaches alone: First, go inside yourself, and then ask humbly to know Christ. Starting here you open yourself to a new horizon of encounter” – M.P. Gallagher sj, Into Extra Time, p. 80.

Fr. QQ – 7/8/2020



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