Books of the Bible Index of Homilies
Matthew Mark Luke John The Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Revelation Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Tobit Judith Esther 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes The Song of Songs The Book of Wisdom Sirach Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Baruch Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
In the passage from the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-7), proclaimed in the First Reading, there is a piece of the history of the Church's early days: the Church was growing, the number of disciples was increasing, but “it was at this very moment that the problems arose”. Indeed, “those who spoke Greek murmured against those who spoke the Hebrew language because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Life, was not always calm and beautiful and the first thing they do is to murmur, to gossip about each other: “But look, the thing is …”. But this does not lead to any solution”.
“The Apostles”, on the contrary, “with the help of the Holy Spirit, reacted well. They summoned the group of disciples and spoke to them. This is the first step: when there are difficulties, it is necessary to examine them closely, to take them up and to talk about them. Never hide them. Life is like this. Life must be taken as it comes, not as we would like it to come”. It is a little like the goalkeeper of the team, isn't it? He grabs the ball wherever it comes from, This is the reality. Thus the Apostles “spoke to each other and came up with a lovely proposal, a revolutionary proposal, for they said: “but we are the Apostles, those who Jesus chose”. However, that was not enough. They realized that their first duty was to pray and to serve the Word. “And as for the daily assistance to widows, we must do something else”. This is “what the deacons decided to do”.
Ask “the Lord for this grace: not to be afraid, and not to use cosmetics on life”, in order to be able “to take life as it comes and to try to solve the problems as the Apostles did. And also to seek the encounter with Jesus who is always beside us, also at life's bleakest moments.
Dear brothers and sisters, good day!
Today’s Gospel narrates a particular prodigious deed of Jesus: He walks at night on the waters of the lake of Galilee toward his disciples who are crossing the lake in a boat (cf. Mt 14:22-33). The question is: Why did Jesus do this? Like a show? No! But why? Maybe because of an urgent, unforeseeable need to help his disciples who were blocked by a headwind? No, because he himself had planned everything, He had made them depart that evening. The text even says he “made them” (cf. v. 22). Maybe he did it to give them a demonstration of his greatness and power? But it is not that simple with him. So, why did he do it? Why did he want to walk on the waters?
There is a message that is not evident, a message we need to grasp. In fact, at that time, great expanses of water were held to be the haunts of evil powers that man was not able to master. Particularly when storms made them turbulent, these abysses were symbols of chaos and recalled the darkness of the underworld. Now, the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake when it was dark. They are afraid of sinking, of being sucked in by evil. And here comes Jesus, walking on the waters, that is, over the powers of evil. He walks on top of the powers of evil and says to his disciples: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (v. 27). This is the message Jesus gives us. This is the meaning of the sign: the powers of evil that frighten us, that we cannot master, take on smaller proportions immediately with Jesus. By walking on the waters, He wants to say, “Do not be afraid. I put your enemies under my feet” – a beautiful message – I put your enemies under my feet – not people! – not that type of enemy, but death, sin, the devil – these are the enemies of the people, our enemies. And Jesus tramples on these enemies for us.
Today, Christ repeats to each of us, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid!” Take heart because I am here, because you are no longer alone on the turbulent waters of life. And so, what should we do when we find ourselves on the open sea at the mercy of headwinds? What should we do when we face the fear of the open sea, when we see only darkness and we feel we are going under? We need to do two things that the disciples do in the Gospel. What do the disciples do? They call on and welcome Jesus. At the worst moments, in the darkest of storms, call on Jesus and welcome Jesus.
The disciples call on Jesus: Peter walks a little on the waters toward Jesus, but then gets frightened. He sinks and then cries out: “Lord, save me!” (v. 30). Invoke Jesus, call on Jesus. This prayer is beautiful. It expresses the certainty that the Lord can save us, that he conquers our evil and our fears. I invite you to repeat it now all together. Three times together: Lord, save me! Lord, save me! Lord, save me!
And then the disciples welcome, first they call on, then they welcome Jesus into the boat. The text says that as soon as he got into the boat, “the wind ceased” (v. 32). The Lord knows that the boat of our life, as well as the boat of the Church, is threatened by headwinds, and that the sea on which we sail is often turbulent. He does not spare us the hard work of sailing, rather – the Gospel emphasizes – he pushes his disciples to depart. He invites us to face difficulties so they too might become salvific places, so Jesus can conquer them, so they become opportunities to meet him. In fact, in our moments of darkness, he comes to meet us, asking to be welcomed like that night on the lake.
So, let us ask ourselves: How do I react when I am afraid, in difficulties? Do I go ahead alone, with my own strength, or do I call on the Lord with trust? And what is my faith like? Do I believe that Christ is stronger than the adversarial waves and winds? But above all: Am I sailing with him? Do I welcome him? Do I make room for him in the boat of my life – never alone, always with Jesus? Do I hand the helm over to Jesus?
In the dark crossings, may Mary, the mother of Jesus, Star of the Sea, help us to seek the light of Jesus.