Tuesday, July 1 ~ Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Blessed Junipero Serra, Priest
Holy Gospel: Matthew 8:23-27
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?”
What is stronger than fear, even the fear of death? There are plenty of scripture passages which provide an answer: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). The Wisdom of Solomon tells us that “love is stronger than death” (Song of Songs 8:6). Jesus’ sleeping presence on the storm-tossed sea reveals the sleeping faith of his disciples. They feared for their lives even though their Lord and Master was with them in the boat. They were asleep to Christ while he was present to them in their hour of need. The Lord is ever present to us. And in our time of testing he asks the same question: Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you, especially when you 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”.
O God, who by your ineffable mercy have been pleased through the labors of your priest Blessed Junipero Serra to count many American peoples within your Church, grant by his intercession that we may so join our hearts to you in love, as to carry always and everywhere before all people the image of your Only Begotten Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
On the day of his election to the papacy in 1978, Pope John Paul II advised us: “Be not afraid.” Several years later, on the third anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death, Pope Benedict XVI quite rightly reminded us of those words, adding that throughout his pontificate, John Paul II acted on those words “with unbending firmness – at first while carrying his bishop’s staff with its cross, and later, when his physical strength was waning, almost while supporting himself on it, until that final Good Friday in which he participated in the Way of the Cross from his private chapel, holding the cross in his arms.” John Paul II’s final suffering, he said, “revealed to believers, and to the whole world, the secret of an entire Christian life.” Pope John Paul II lived a life of faith, through many trials, tribulations, challenges, fears and anxieties. He knew that with Christ at his side, there was never any reason to fear. How do you face the challenges of life?