USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.
Good News Reflection: And now this, too, Lord?
By Graciela Ramos, Assistant Director
In Saturday’s Gospel reading, the apostles embark on a simple journey, from one shore to another, but Jesus is delayed and the disciples depart. It was already dark and they were fighting against the strong swell due to the intense wind. In the midst of this difficult situation, Jesus puts the finishing touch on the situation by scaring them as he approached them walking on the water. “Do not fear, it’s me,” he tells them when he sees that they are afraid.
When we are struggling with some problems in our life, how often do unforeseen things happen that force us to say, “And now this!”? The “this”, as it turns out, is usually Jesus.
My husband, my four children and I were living in a town where God was rejected. A place where only one Mass was celebrated on Sundays (and not always, we often went two weeks without consecrated Hosts) and where nothing that was related to the Christianity (Catholic or Protestant) prospered. Therefore the Sacraments almost did not exist, and my family longed for them so much.
My youngest children (at that time 12 years old) were being bullied at school. They suffered to the point that one of them was being assisted by a psychologist and the other refused to return to school after having escaped, because he felt desperate about the hostile environment.
We did not know what to do. We prayed, asking the Lord, and we didn’t hear anything. Suddenly, one of my children gets a wound in his foot and ends up with osteomyelitis hospitalized in a nearby town! When we took him to the orthopedic surgeo, we learned that the first practices done to him had worsened the situation and, at that moment, his life could be in danger.
“And now this!”
Even more! We had scheduled a vacation that we had to suspend, and we had to spend that Christmas in the hospital, celebrating to the extent that we could (of course Jesus was certainly there).
After much prayer, the anointing of the sick and 15 days of hospitalization, my son recovered and we returned home (not a trace of the infection was left). Why, Lord, did You allow that situation?
There is always a “why”. God wants to say, correct, confirm or teach us when he allows these unexpected situations to happen.
The “why” was simple: The Lord warned us that the life (spiritual and physical) of our children and ours was in danger in that place, where God was strictly rejected and other spirits, not from the Kingdom of Heaven, reigned. With my husband, we made the determination to move to another place and Jesus slowly guided us to the city where we are today.
Great surprise we had! In this city, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24 hours a day in the parish, the Christian life flourishes abundantly, and since then our children and we, too, have recovered joy and peace.
Thank you Lord for the “And now this!” It is You calling our attention to give us back Your peace and joy.”
The key to joy when life is a churning sea and windy storm
When Jesus and the disciples were riding through a storm in the boat that was about to capsize, Jesus didn’t help His friends survive the storm. Jesus calmed the storm! Jesus wants to calm your storms, too. What are you doing that keeps the storm raging? How are you contributing to its forces? Turn around and see Jesus standing in the boat next to you. See His lack of fear, His lack of worry, His lack of making any attempts to steer the boat through the rough waters and high winds. What is He doing? He is saying, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who are creating the storm. Live My way, and though the storm might continue to rage around the others in your life, you will be standing with Me where the sea is calm and the wind is but a gentle breeze refreshing your soul.”
This one of 11 keys found in the Good News WordByte Keys to True Joy— the only joy that lasts no matter what’s going on, the kind of joy that isn’t easy, the joy that only God can provide and that is only learned by following Jesus.
And here’s a video from the course “How to Hear the Holy Spirit” (session 13) on “What to Do When Things Go Wrong“. One of the students who’s taken this course says of this particular session: “This video was an incredibly useful 4:56 minutes in time. I wish I had heard it years ago! Everything was helpful, but thoughts that spring to mind are: that God’s Holy Spirit is so likely to use our imaginations (what could happen), as opposed to using our logic (what ought to happen), just because God is God and we are not, and if we are called to walk on water it has to happen by faith, not logic!” (Andrea Menhinick)
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica