Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 28:1-17; Matthew 14:22-36)
A man tells of a revelation during a particularly trying time. He felt his world crumbling after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. The night they received the news while locking the doors of his parish church, he stopped to make a plea for mercy. Then, he says, he felt an arm reaching across his back and a voice telling him that everything will be okay. How else could the man interpret this experience except as a divine pronouncement? The apostles in today’s gospel would have known what this man was feeling after their encounter with the Lord.
The passage is often taken as an allegory for the early Church in crisis. Jesus is risen and ascended into heaven. The nascent Church, symbolized by the little boat, is having great difficulty, perhaps from persecution or maybe from internal disputes. The stormy sea represents primordial, destructive forces that always threaten human projects with annihilation. But the Lord, who seemed to the apostles to be absent, is actually there to help them. He tells them not worry. He even bids their leader to act boldly in face of the crisis.
Just as much as hurricanes and earthquakes threaten the order of creation, accidents and diseases lurk among us. We need not hesitate to call on the Lord for protection. But let us not forget to thank him when the clouds break, the sun shines, and we feel as free as butterflies.