This homily was given at Our Lady of the Mountain Parish, Ashland, OR on the memorial of St. Irenaeus, June 28, 2022. The audio is available here.
The worst thing was how suddenly the storm came upon them.
They had set out from Galilee on a fine morning amid cheering crowds.
Now, mere hours later, they are perishing amid howling wind and waves.
On Sunday, we heard one wannabe disciple boldly exclaim: “Rabbi, I will follow you wherever you go!”
“Yes … but will you follow me into deep waters in this rickety little boat?”
Every disciple of Christ since has gone through the same test.
No sooner do we place our trust in God and go out upon the waters than our faith is tested by a sudden storm.
We feel out of control and panic, while Jesus sleeps unconcerned!
The storm is not only a test of our faith, exposing how tenuous it really is.
Jesus exposes our deepest fears, our lack of faith, not to rebuke us for failing to measure up to some standard, but in order to redeem them.
The Divine Savior is redeeming his disciples’ fear by making His unshakeable peace as God present, in the same boat, as our frantic despair.
The depths of human fear itself are summoned up in order to transform them, in the encounter with His peaceful presence, into heartfelt, confident trust: “Jesus, save us!”
In every storm, Jesus is the one in control.
He is not anxious; He is at rest.
Today, at this Holy Mass, we place our trust in Him whom even the winds and sea obey, present to us now under the appearance of bread and wine.
He sleeps here in the tabernacle, taking his rest in the midst of our distress.
And his rest is a daring invitation to us: trust in Him, and be amazed.