Views from the Pews – Pentecost 11 – Sunday, August 13, 2023

My Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I share with you exerts from the Sunday Readings by Father Kevin O’Sullivan

In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel, our Lord sent his disciples to row across the lake, knowing that they would meet strong, gale-force headwinds and be in danger.  He did this because he wanted their faith and trust in himself.  He intended to come to them at the right moment, working two miracles – walking on water and calming the storm.  This he did and the result was as he had intended.  Their faith in him was strengthened, they declared he was the Messiah, the Chosen of God. Peter, already the recognized leader, and always the most daring among them, showed himself ready to risk drowning in order to prove his trust and confidence in Christ.  While he trusted in Christ, all went well, but when his faith weakened, he would have been lost were it not for the outstretched helping hand of his master.  This was also a very necessary lesson in the education of Peter and his companions.

For us too, there is a necessary lesson in this incident.  It is that we must continue to trust in Christ and his loving Father, even when God seems to have deserted us.  Most of the troubles and trials of our lives are caused by the injustice and lack of charity of our fellowmen.  The remainder can be attributed to our own defects and sins or to some weakness in our mental and bodily make-up.  But God foresees all these misfortunes and can prevent them.  Instead, he lets them take their course, because they can and should be the means of educating us in our knowledge of life’s true meaning and they should draw us closer to him.

Christ foresaw the storm and the grave risk his Apostles would run when he sent them off across the lake.  But that trial and the grave danger they ran was for their own good, because they learned to realize that he was from God and they should always trust him.  Our trials and our earthly ailments are also foreseen by God and permitted by him (even if inflicted on us by a sinful fellowman) so that they will draw us closer to him and help us on the road to heaven.

Our troubles in life are like the growing pains of our youth.  They are necessary if we are to arrive at our stature as sons and daughters of God.  They form, mold and shape our religious character and bring us closer to God, if we allow them to do so.