Thought for the Day – 2 July – Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week, Year C – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 8:23-37
The Anguish of an Absence
by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord, we are perishing.”
There is a Gospel scene which in an extraordinary way anticipates the silence of Holy Saturday and which again, therefore, seems to be a profile of the moment in history we are living now. Christ is asleep on a boat which, buffeted by a storm, is about to sink.
The prophet Elijah had once made fun of the priests of Baal who were futilely invoking their god to send down fire on their sacrifice. He urged them to cry out louder in case their god was asleep.
But is it true that God does not sleep? Does not the prophet’s scorn also fall upon the heads of the faithful of the God of Israel who are sailing with Him in a boat about to sink? God sleeps while His very own are about to drown – is not this the experience of our lives? Don’t the Church, the faith, resemble a small boat about to sink, struggling futilely against the waves and the wind and all the time God is absent? The disciples cry out in dire desperation and they shake the Lord to wake Him but He is surprised at this and rebukes them, for their small faith. But are things any different for us? When the storm passes we will realise just how much this small faith of ours was charged with stupidity.
And yet, O Lord, we cannot help shaking You, God, You who persist in keeping Your silence, in sleeping and we cannot help crying to You – Wake up, can’t You see we are sinking? Stir Yourself, don’t let the darkness of Holy Saturday last forever, let a ray of Easter fall, even on these times of ours, accompany us when we set out in our desperation towards Emmaus so that our hearts may be enflamed by the warmth of Your nearness.
You who, hidden, charted the paths of Israel only to become a man in the end with men – don’t leave us in the dark, don’t let Your word be lost in these days of great squandering of words.
Lord, grant us Your help, because without You we will sink. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 2 July – Tuesday of the Thirteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 8:23-37
“Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?”
“Whoever has become a servant of the Lord, fears only his Master.
But whoever is without the fear of God,
is often afraid of his own shadow.
Fearfulness is the daughter of unbelief.
A proud soul is the slave of fear,
hoping in itself,
it comes to such a state,
that it is startled by a small noise
and is afraid of the dark.”
St John Climacus (579-649)
One Minute Reflection – 2 July – Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week, Year C – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 8:23-37 and the Memorial of Blessed Eugénie Joubert (1876–1904)
“Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves but he was asleep.”… Matthew 8:24
REFLECTION – “The sea offered its heaving back for Christ to walk upon. Now it levelled its crests to a plain, checked its swelling and bound up its billows. It provided rocklike firmness, so He could walk across the waterway. Why did the seas heave so, and toss and pitch, even as if threatening its Creator? And why did Christ Himself, who knows all the future, seem so unaware of the present thatHhe gave no thought to the onrushing storm, the moment of its height and the time of its peril? While all the rest were awake, He alone was fast asleep even with utter doom threatening both Himself and His dear ones. Why? It is not a calm sky, beloved but the storm which tests a pilot’s skill. When the breeze is mild, even the poorest sailor, can manage the ship. But in the crosswinds of a tempest, we want the best pilot with all His skill.”… Saint Peter Chrysologus (c 406 – c 450) (Sermons, 20)
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant me an operative faith – a faith that will move mountains and is strong enough to know that absolutely nothing and no-one here on earth can compare to You. Let me show that faith by lively love and by loving deeds and by conforming myself to Your will in all things – teach me that only YOU are first in line. This is how you lived your life Bl Eugénie Joubert putting only the God who created us first and now you are a Saint. Please pray for us. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and for always, amen.