Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr
(Amos 3:1-8.4:11-12; Matthew 8:23-27)
Irenaeus lived in challenging times for the Church. In the latter part of the second century Christians were subject to persecution. Also, heresies were creeping into Christian thought and much of the Church’s doctrine needed clarification. Irenaeus responded magnificently. He wrote theological treatises that show remarkable sensitivity for Scripture. As bishop, he settled a dispute among Christians about the day Easter was to be celebrated. The Church was being tossed about then like Jesus’ boat in today’s gospel passage.
Jesus appears to his disciples as a superman as he sleeps in the boat with a storm raging. He has demonstrated his great wisdom and even has worked some cures. Now he shows his authority over nature. The disciples cannot help but wonder what kind of human being he is. In tomorrow’s gospel there question will be answered as Peter names him “’the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
We must trust that Jesus is with us today to save us. There are plenty of difficulties. Solid morality, like the insistence not to take human life, is publicly compromised. Money, not the common good, seems to be the principal motivator for most people. The world is threatened by mass terrorism, a new form of militarism. We have, as it were, to wake up Jesus with our prayer. He will calm present storms as sure as he has done throughout the ages.