Wednesday, January 7 ~ Fourteenth Day of the Christmas Season
Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest
Holy Gospel: Mark 6:45-52 After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
Meditation: Does the Lord ever seem distant to you? After the great miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus sends his disciples away to fend for themselves in the dark of the night while a storm begins to brew on the sea. Although they were experienced fishermen, they were fearful for their lives. The Lord’s sudden presence on the sea only made them more fearful! Mark says they were terrified (verse 50), not only because the sea was threatening to drown them. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost waiting for their imminent destruction. Jesus had to calm them with his reassuring voice: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” Jesus gave them the courage to cast their anxiety and fear on him who is Lord of the seas as well as their lives. Scripture reminds us that no fear can overtake us if we put our trust in God’s love and care for us. John the Evangelist tells us that God’s love abides in us and perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:16,18).
Prayer: O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Raymond with the virtue of outstanding mercy and compassion for sinners and for captives, grant us, through his intercession, that, released from slavery to sin, we may carry out in freedom of spirit what is pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you ever find yourself thinking how much we are like the apostles – especially when we experience trials and adversity? While the Lord may at times seem distant to us, he, nonetheless is constantly present at our side. The scriptures remind us that the Lord is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Whatever storms make beset us, he promises to “bring us to our desired haven” (Psalm 107:29-30). The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty. Do you rely on the Lord for his strength and help? Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us. When calamities and trials threaten to overwhelm you, how do you respond? With fear and panic, or with faith and trust in God’s love and presence with you?