Jesus our Saviour Restores our Peace
Readings: 1st: I Kg 19:9. 11-13; Ps 84:9-14; 2nd: Rom 9:1-5; Gos: Mt 14:22-33
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this nineteenth Sunday of ordinary time, the Church joyfully reminds us that Jesus our Savior is always close to us. He calms the storms of our life. He lifts us from the depths, and restores our peace. The presence of the storm, and all that it represents definitely make us confused, and afraid in life. Thus, it equally deprives us of our peace.
There is something interesting about today’s readings. This is simply the fact that, all the three great figures and personalities (Elijah, Paul, and Peter) we encountered in today’s readings were in one way or the other embattled. As such, their peace was threatened.
First, Elijah was fearful, and running away from Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel, who wanted him dead at all cost. Second, Paul was ravaged by sorrow and anguish due to the unbelief of his “fellow brothers of Israel.” This was a great burden that threatened his peace of mind. Third, Peter was sinking right in front of Jesus, due to fear, his lack of faith and courage. This is the dilemma of our lives. In one way or the other, our peace is threatened.
In the first reading, the embattled prophet Elijah encountered God, and his peace was restored. A very significant lesson for us in this reading is that, when we are internally calm and away from the distractions of life, we hear God speak to us. To say that God spoke to Elijah after the gentle breeze, is simply to say that Elijah experienced peace of mind.
God came at the appropriate time, not in the mighty wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but after a gentle breeze. So, contrary to what some of us think, God speaks to us when we are internally recollected and calm. Often times, we seek God with distracted minds. In such a state, we may not encounter Him. It is when we are recollected, that we hear him speak to us.
In the second reading, Paul expresses his grief for his people (fellow Jews). This was because, they rejected the good news. His sadness and grief was so great that he lamented: “I will willingly be condemned, if it could help my brothers.” In order words, he was not at peace because of their situation.
Therefore, Paul teaches us that we must not always think about ourselves alone. Rather, we should equally be concerned about the welfare, salvation and peace of others. It is through this, that we derive our own inner peace. When others are not saved, our peace is guaranteed.
In today’s gospel, the disciples of Jesus experienced the storm of their life, and Jesus was available to calm it, and equally, restore their peace. “Storms” are part and parcel of our human existence. They are inevitable in this world, just as the waves are inevitable in the sea, and death is inevitable to us.
Sometimes, they hit us so hard that we are crushed, devastated, and almost annihilated. Like the disciples of Jesus, each one of us experiences the storm in diverse ways in our lives. That is, the storm that robs us of our peace.
However, when they encounter Christ, our peace is restored and they disappear. Hence, Paul wrote: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies (2 Cor 4: 8-9).
Finally, as Christ said to Peter, so he also says to us today: “Courage! Do not be afraid, it is I.” So, all we need to do is to trust Him, and keep walking without the fear of sinking. Like Peter, we must step out with faith and courage against the storms of our life. Therefore, let us hold on firmly to Jesus, who calms our storms and restores our peace.
Peace be with you all!