Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 8:23-27

Tuesday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 8:23-27

Today’s Gospel is a familiar story: it is the story of the storm at sea.  The disciples were out fishing on the sea.  Suddenly, a severe storm came up and the disciples became frightened.   Despite the fact that several of the disciples were experienced fishermen, they were terrified.  The storm was ferocious and waves were beginning to swamp their boat.  Unbelievably, Jesus remained sound asleep in the boat while the storm raged all around Him.

Finally, the disciples woke Jesus and they begged Him to save them.  However, Jesus rebuked them.  Then He asked: “Why are you so terrified, you of little faith?”  Jesus then stood up and rebuked the winds and the seas and immediately calm descended on the waters.   Jesus’ disciples were utterly amazed!  They looked at one another and asked:  Who is this man whom the winds and waves obey?”

Take a moment and remember a time in your life when you were extremely frightened.  What was the “storm” that created such turmoil and fear in your life?  Did you turn to Jesus and beg him to rescue you?  Or did you simply hunker down in your boat and hold on tightly?

At various times in our lives, Jesus may appear to be asleep when we desperately need his help and grace to get us through the ferocious storm that we are experiencing.  Despite His seeming absence or lack of concern, do we continue to trust that He is with us?  Do we believe that He is gracing us even if we don’t feel it?  Often, it only as time passes that we recognize and know that Jesus was with us every moment.

The next time you are in turmoil, I invite you to sit down and breathe slowly and mindfully for three to four minutes.  Breathe in peace and exhale stress and fear.  After several minutes, check yourself:  Are you as agitated as you were or are you calmer now? Is your mind clearer?

When we are upset or fearful, we automatically “batten down the hatches,” as sailors would say.  In our language we might say: “I just shut down.”  And at times, we may need to shut down momentarily.  However, we need an additional step: we need to open our minds and hearts to Jesus’ presence.  If we do this for several minutes, we may realize that we are calmer and more peaceful.  Practicing calm and peace will rebuke the winds and waves in our lives.

Love, calm, and peace are gifts that Jesus gives to us.  Today take time to consciously open your mind and heart to receive these wondrous gifts.  It not only will change your day, it will change you!

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