Notes from Father Brendan

June 23, 2024

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The little details of Christ’s humanity in the Gospels are always so beautiful and interesting. We believe that Jesus is true God and true man, he is not just one or the other. He fully took on human nature, He is like us in all things but sin. Today’s Gospel shows Jesus getting into a boat with his disciples, and we find him asleep. Even the incarnate Son of God needs rest. That rest is interrupted by unfaithful disciples who became so overwhelmed with worry that they actually forget who Jesus is. They have lost all semblance of fortitude. Jesus Christ is perfect God and perfect man, who can overcome all obstacles. When we forget that, it is very easy for us to become afraid. Without this foundation of who Christ is, we would struggle to conquer fear. Any and all trials or persecutions would seem insurmountable and hopeless. But if we know who Jesus is, we repeat the words of the Psalmist, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge, of whom should I be afraid?”

In another human moment, after taking care of their worries, Jesus has to teach them, again. His questions, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They imply, that if we are with Christ, as they were in that boat, we have absolutely nothing to fear, and in fact being terrified of something while being next to Christ only reveals an utter lack of faith. His questions are asking “Do you actually know who I am?” To put ourselves in the disciples’ shoes, perhaps we are tempted to be more lenient toward them. After all, the boat seemed like it was doomed, and they were convinced they were going to die. Surely in those circumstances we are allowed to be afraid. Well, if we have Jesus with us the answer is “no.” He seems to be giving the disciples the message, “Listen, if I’m asleep then things are okay. If you see me panicking, that’s when you should be very afraid.”

The first reading shows us a small portion of God’s many questions he puts toward Job, and Jesus seems to continue the same line of questioning for the disciples. In this series of rhetorical questions, they almost have an ironic tone. God demolishes the pretense of human wisdom, however great their wisdom may be by human standards, how could it ever rival the infinite wisdom of God. God’s ways are so insurmountable that he can even draw good from evil and sin. Given both God’s infinite love for us guided by his supreme wisdom, we certainly owe him our unfailing trust. This is especially true when our lives can resemble a ship that’s sinking instead one at peace in harbor.

Jesus is not “asleep in the stern” of our lives, he is present in each and every tabernacle. Visit him there and allow him to cast out your fears. If Jesus is present sacramentally before us, and his grace has filled my life, what could we possibly fear?

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Brendan