28 June 2016
Tuesday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
Am 3:1 - 8; 4:11 – 12 / Mt 8:23 – 27
Born in Smyrna, St. Irenaeus (125 – 203) was a disciple of St. Polycarp (d 155). He preached against Gnosticism and wrote an important treatise against the Gnostics. He became Bishop of Lyons and sent missoinaries to various parts of France.
Gospel Reading: Mt 8: 23 - 27
Jesus got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning a fierce storm hit the lake, with waves sweeping the boat. But Jesus was asleep.
They woke him and cried, "Lord save us! We are lost!" But Jesus answered, "Why are you so afraid, you of little faith?" Then he stood up and ordered the wind and sea; and it became completely calm.
The people were astonished. They said, "What kind of man is he? Even the winds and the sea obey him."
Very often, we find ourselves asking for God's help and mercy especially during trying times—when we encounter a challenge or a difficulty, or when we are overwhelmed with wave upon wave of trials. During these times, how do we see God as we approach him with our troubles? Perhaps some of us may think of God as someone far off, observing us from a distance. Perhaps with our busy lives, it is more convenient to assign God a space "up there" in heaven—set apart from the hectic life of earth—where He can gaze down on us and send rays of assistance when we pray for his help.
The Gospel reading today shows us something very different about God. He is there on the boat with his disciples as they are tossed about and as the waves continually crash into them. Jesus is not fearful despite the events unfolding around them while they are out in the water. He assures his disciples who have become afraid. He orders the wind and the sea to calm itself. Jesus is in the very thick of things. He does not give orders to the wind and sea while standing on the beach or from a mountain top far removed from what is taking place. Jesus brings peace while in the middle of the chaotic situation.
We are invited to appreciate and acknowledge that God is with us. He is not far away, listening across the distance. He brings peace where he is. And he is within us, dwelling in our hearts. How liberating it is to experience God in and with us, bringing us consolation, courage, peace because of His presence. God listens to us and God loves us; and he does so within each of us.
As we face the trials that life brings, may we gain this felt understanding of how our Lord is actively present amidst our difficulties. He faces those same challenges that we face because he is with us. And because he is with us, he brings us peace.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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