Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 19:15-29; Matthew 8:23-27)
General George Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff during World War II and later Secretary of State, was renowned for his self-control. It is said that after making critical decisions involving thousands of lives, Marshall could take a nap. In today’s gospel Jesus proves himself to be a person of even greater composure.
Jesus’ disciples are amazed that the sun and moon seem to snap at his command. It is almost as remarkable that he could sleep in a small boat being rocked by a storm. The story is meant to teach more than Jesus’ authority over nature or his serenity. It is also a lesson in Jesus’ presence to the Church after the resurrection. The ship in the storm symbolizes the Church in its infancy. It is being challenged in every direction – persecutions, heresies, contentious questions like accommodation of non-Jews. The portrayal of Jesus sleeping represents the temptation of thinking that he is indifferent about these challenges. But all the disciples have to do to secure his help is beseech him in prayer.
We too at times may feel overwhelmed by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Perhaps we have promised to do more than now seems possible to accomplish. Or maybe our children bring home problems that we thought happen in only the most troubled of families. We too can find recourse in the Lord Jesus. As he calmed the storm for his disciples, he will assist us in our need.