A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel
Liturgical day: Tuesday 13th in Ordinary Time
Gospel text (Mt 8,23-27): Jesus got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning a fierce storm hit the lake, with waves sweeping the boat. But Jesus was asleep. They woke him and cried, «Lord save us! We are lost!». But Jesus answered, «Why are you so afraid, you of little faith?». Then He stood up and ordered the wind and sea; and it became completely calm. The people were astonished. They said, «What kind of man is he? Even the winds and the sea obey him».
«Then he stood up and ordered the wind and sea; and it became completely calm»
Monk of Santa Maria de Poblet
(Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragona, Spain)
Today, Tuesday 13th in ordinary time, the liturgy offers us one of the most shocking fragments of our Lord's public life. The scene shows a great vivacity that contrasts radically with the disciples' attitude and Jesus' behavior. We can imagine how frightened they must have been on the boat when «without warning a fierce storm hit the lake, with waves sweeping the boat» (Mt 8:24), though their distress was not enough to awake Jesus, who was sleeping. It was up to the disciples in despair to wake up the Master! «Lord save us! We are lost!» (Mt 8:25).
The evangelist, taking advantage of these dramatic events, reveals us the true essence of Jesus. The storm was still raging and the disciples full of fear and confusion, when Jesus, simply and calmly, «stood up and ordered the wind and sea; and it became completely calm» (Mt 8:26). Jesus' conjuring Word brought the calm over the waters; but this calm was not meant to affect only the turbulent winds and waters of the lake: Jesus' Word, above all, was addressed to appease his disciples' fearful hearts. «Why are you so afraid, you of little faith?» (Mt 8:26).
And from embarrassment and fear the disciples shifted to admiration and astonishment, for they had witnessed this prodigy, unheard of until then. The surprise, the admiration, the wonder of such a drastic change in a situation they were living arose in them a central question: «What kind of man is he? Even the winds and the sea obey him» (Mt 8:27). Who can assuage storms on earth and skies and, at the same time, those in men's hearts? Only He, who «sleeping as a man in a boat, can command the wind and the sea as God» (Nicetas of Remesiana).
Whenever we may be afraid the earth is collapsing under our feet, let us not forget that our Savior is God himself made man, and that He is always close to us.