Then He asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
“Why are you terrified?” the Lord Jesus asks them, which seems like a perfectly reasonable question, given the fact that they were in a boat that happened to be sinking! It probably seems to most of us like that would be a great question. Jesus is asleep; the boat is going down; they have no idea what to do. So they wake Him up, and then they make their first mistake. They presume that, because they are currently experiencing great difficulties, it must be because the Lord does not care, as they point out: “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
It is an easy mistake to make, and one probably many of us have made, especially during these current trying times. Bad things are happening, and we immediately jump to the conclusion that the Lord Jesus does not care what is happening to us. After all, we often reason, if He did, these bad things would not be happening. However, it doesn’t take much of an examination of the Scriptures or the lives of the Saints to see that the Lord Jesus’s followers frequently experience very difficult and trying times, and it is not because He doesn’t care. In fact, often the Lord Jesus allows those circumstances precisely so that He can demonstrate through His great power that He does love us and He does care!
We see this in the current situation the Gospel describes concerning the disciples. He awakes and uses His power to still the storm and calm the sea. The end result is that “They were filled with great awe.” The circumstances of this particular challenge were allowed to bring the apostles to a position of even greater faith, as they saw Who He was and what He was capable of doing.
The hard part is trusting Him in those situations. While all of us believe that the Lord Jesus has the power to do whatever He desires, we are less quick to affirm that He will use that power on our behalf. We are much more likely to repeat that mistake of assuming that, because of the difficult circumstances, the Lord Jesus Himself simply does not care.
And yet, we have recently just celebrated that great Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, in which it was proclaimed to us that the Heart of the Savior is constantly turned toward us, that He loves us beyond words, that His Sacred Heart is filled with love, compassion, and mercy for us. We have celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, which reminds us that each of the Three Divine Persons wants a personal relationship with each one of us. We have celebrated Pentecost, reminding each of us that the King of Kings absolutely desires that we would open our hearts to the great power of the Holy Spirit. We have celebrated the Triduum itself, focusing on His saving death and glorious Resurrection for our sake! We have more than ample reason to look at what He has done and remind ourselves that the Lord of Lords does love us beyond words and is constantly there for us.
The problem is that, when we face difficulties, especially grave difficulties, involving ourselves or those we love, it is easy to for get about all that and just get overwhelmed by the circumstances. We often need to take a lesson from the Queen of Heaven, who is noted as having pondered in her heart concerning the great works of God. Her constantly doing so strengthened her to remember who she was and what He was doing and thus gave her a greater ability to trust Him.
If those great feasts we have just celebrated are only a blur at the moment, we need to revisit them and reflect on their meanings for our lives so that we do not allow these circumstances to rob us of our ability to trust in Him. Then we can be at peace, because we will know more deeply in our heart of hearts that, even though the storm can continue to rage, we are safe, because the King of Kings is with us and views us as His beloved sons and daughters! We can then resist the snake’s temptation to arrogantly accuse the Good Shepherd of not caring for us. Instead, we choose, regardless of the circumstances, to trust Him, Who loves us first! Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come! – Fr. Ed Fride