21 June 2015
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
The gospel passage describes a moment when the disciples were travelling by boat with Jesus and a violent storm overcame them. Jesus was asleep in the boat, while the disciples were struggling to stay afloat. Feeling desperately out of control the disciples then woke Jesus up and put forth the question: Master, do you not care that we are perishing? This is the characteristic question of all of humanity towards God, especially when we are in difficulty. Even as individuals, each of us might have moments when we are asking God ‘do you not care that I am perishing?’, ‘do you not see the difficulties I find myself in?’, ‘why are you not helping?’ It may seem to us that the Lord is asleep, as Jesus was during the storm on the sea, yet God is present and close by. He may not be present the way we would expect him to be and may not respond the way we would prefer, but he is present in his own way, alongside us, sharing in our difficulties and giving us strength to battle the storms of our lives.
God does care. The reply of Jesus proves this: Quiet, be still. This is the way we ‘hear’ the Lord and see him at work in our lives. It takes just a little effort on our part, to find some time for God in silent prayer. Silence is truly golden, for it brings us back into touch with God. We need moments of quiet silence, exterior and interior, in order to listen to the Lord speaking to us. This is why in Mass too, we pause for silent prayer three times, before the “I confess” to recall our sins, after the homily in order to reflect on the Word of God that has been proclaimed and upon receiving the Body of Christ at Communion, where we thank God for the gift of his Son. We need moments of silence each day at home too. Some of the most beautiful moments of the day can be when you get up early in the morning to watch the sunrise but mostly to pray. On the other hand, they might be late in the evening when the day is over, to recollect your thoughts in the silence of your room and your heart, in order to thank God for the day gone by, no matter what it was like.
After calming the wind and the sea, Jesus then adds a question of his own directed at the disciples: Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith? While the disciples were concerned about themselves and their own lives earlier, Jesus challenges them not to fear but to trust in God in all situations. Jesus is also asking us ‘do you believe and trust in me, that I can calm the storms of your life?’ Faith in Jesus’ abiding and sustaining presence keeps fear at bay and enables us to continue navigating through the storms of life trusting in God’s constant closeness to us that can only be felt in the quiet stillness of hearts that approach him with faith.