Reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel passage for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time about the storm calmed by Jesus, Pope Francis likens the waves and wind to the trials of our daily lives and encourages us to “ask for the grace of a faith that never tires of seeking the Lord.” He assures us the Lord is always there by our side waiting for us.
Pope Francis focused his reflections on the Sunday Gospel episode recounting when Jesus calmed the high winds and waves threatening the boat crossing with His disciples. The alarmed disciples awakened Jesus, who was asleep in the stern, to ask Him to help them.
The Pope likened the disciples’ experience of fear and bewilderment to the trials of our own lives, when we too cry out to the Lord, asking why He seems to be silent and not doing anything. Sometimes we feel we might be sinking when dealing with unemployment or health problems or at the mercy of unrelenting waves of anxiety with no safe harbour in sight, the Pope observed. At times we “risk losing sight of the most important thing”: that “Jesus is there, and He shares with His own all that is happening”, even if He is sleeping or seems out of sight. This is something that surprises us, but also tests our faith. The Pope said the Lord is always there and “waits for us to engage Him, to invoke Him, to put Him at the centre of what we are experiencing”; and we must not only believe in God, but be present to Him and even “raise our voice with Him, cry out to Him”. He recalled the tragic images we have seen of migrants struggling at sea crying out for help to be saved, a prayer to God.
It is helpful to reflect on our own lives and the winds we are facing and the waves that are troubling our navigation, the Pope advised. We need to share this with the Lord and “tell Him everything”, since He wants us to find shelter, consolation and support from the “unexpected waves of life”. The disciples’ waking and speaking to Jesus is the approach we should follow, the Pope said, and this faith helps us see that “alone we are unable to stay afloat”. Like sailors navigate looking to the stars in the sky, we too need to look to the Lord.
Knowing that we depend fully on the Lord and His grace is basic to faith, Pope Francis said, and we need to be aware of the temptation of thinking we can manage on our own without disturbing God. Instead, when we cry out to God, “He can work wonders in us”, the Pope assured his listeners, and “the gentle and extraordinary power of prayer” can work miracles.
In conclusion, Pope Francis said the question Jesus asked His disciples, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” is directed to us also, especially when we are frozen and focused only on the problem, and not turning our hearts and putting our trust to the Lord, or “to wake Him only in a moment of need”. We need to “ask for the grace of a faith that never tires of seeking the Lord, of knocking at the door of His heart”, he said.
Pope Francis concluded his remarks with the prayer that the Virgin Mary’s constant trust in God might “reawaken in us the basic need of entrusting ourselves to Him each day”.
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.