BE SURE HE IS IN YOUR BOAT
A man felt overwhelmed by his family problems. He went to a Rabbi to seek a one-time solution. The Rabbi then instructed him to go back to his village to get a glass of water from any home that is free of problems, so he could pray over it for the man to drink and solve all his problems. The man immediately thought of a few families in his village that he was sure had no problems. He ran back to the village, went to the first family, and narrated his mission. Those in the household narrated their own problems and he realized that his situation was better than theirs. So, he went from home to home and each new home had worse stories to tell than the previous ones. At the end of the day, he went back to the Rabbi and said, “Thank you, Rabbi, I am no longer interested in what I came for. I am going back to my village to help those whose situations are worse than mine.”
My dearly beloved in Christ, as human beings, many, if not all of us, desire a life devoid of problems, but challenges seem to be part of the package here on earth. Sometimes, when we face difficulties in life, our first reaction is to ask, “What sin did I commit to deserve this?” But the life of Job, whose book we read in the first reading today, reveals that sometimes, people get into trouble not because of something bad they did but because of something good they did. Job suffered not because he sinned, but because God wanted to prove to Satan that Job was a righteous man. Thanks be to God; Job did not fail. Other times when we get into trouble, we ask, “Why has God abandoned me?” But in today’s gospel passage, we see that Jesus was with the apostles in the same boat when the waves attacked them. They woke him up, and he calmed the sea. The difficulties we face in life are not always because we sinned or because God has abandoned us.
The miracle in this passage happened Once Upon a time, but to see what this miracle means for us today, we need to understand some symbols here. The image of the boat/ship has been used to symbolize the Church. The Church is the ship that transports Christians here on earth until we get to our destination in heaven. The apostles were crossing over to the other side. Where is the other side? When we read further, the gospel tells us that the other side is a territory of the Pagans. So, the apostles were carrying Jesus in the boat to the other side to evangelize the pagans. Similarly, as Christians, we are in the church, which is the boat, that is transporting us, and in this boat, we are carrying Jesus to those who are yet to receive Jesus Christ into their lives. Many times, like the apostles, we forget that Jesus is the one we are carrying in the boat, we forget that Jesus is the one we are taking to the other side and so we try to find solutions ourselves to problems without consulting Jesus. Each time we do that, we worry, we run ourselves down until we realize that Jesus is the one in the boat with us. When we turn to Jesus, we find answers to our questions.
Sometimes, we find that our family members or friends need more of Jesus in their lives. We forget that Jesus is the one in the boat with us, and we begin to take matters into our own hands; we begin to think that solutions must come from us, and at the end of the day, we become more frustrated. Only when we remember that it is not by our power, and not by our might, but by the Spirit of God, and we give God the chance that we find rest for ourselves and our family and friends.
When we worry, it is an indication of the fact that we are keeping God outside of our calculations. Ordinarily, as human beings, we prefer a life with no problems, but the truth of the matter is that, sometimes, it is in problems, it is in troubles that we realize our true strengths, we come to know ourselves better, and more importantly, we come to find God. Many times, we think that God has deserted us, but the truth of the matter is that we are the ones who are ignorant of the presence of God in our lives.
At this moment, I have no idea of what troubles you are facing as an individual, as a family, or as a group. No matter what it is that you are passing through, remember that the same Jesus who calmed the sea is the one we receive in the Eucharist. Sometimes God calms the waves, other times, he lets the waves, and he calms his child. May our faith in God never fail us until we come to our heavenly inheritance, through Christ our Lord Amen