At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Jesus assures us during any storm we experience, whether physical or spiritual or within our heart, “Do not be afraid!” But catastrophes or death are the extraordinary moments. It is within the ordinary, within our daily living — rising to meet the needs of each other every second of every day — that may be most tumultuous for most of us. In each storm, there is the sacred moment of normalcy and it is within this normalcy that we often struggle.
Jesus, when he had nourished the crowds with His Word and with blessed morsels of food, turned to His Father to pray. We also are called to return to God to pray by our daily living. We offer ourselves to God for the fulfillment of His goodness upon our rising as we pray the Liturgy of the Hours. We are asked to seek God in all things and place our trust and faith in the Lord. Children are afraid when they are out of their mother’s arms. They feel nothing can harm them if they are holding her hand. We also are asked to hold God’s hand, and He offers to carry us through whatever difficulty we may encounter.
Truly, there is no book written about what to do with difficulty. Each of us experiences it in his or her own way. The best book to consider is Sacred Scripture for the stories of the Old Testament fulfilled in the new call every person to serve the Lord — to uphold the Covenant. Each time, God’s healing nourishment is brought forward. Elijah sought shelter within a cave and heard God in the “tiny whispering sound”. God doesn’t always blast trumpets with His offering of peace. He does not always “walk on water” to get our attention. We are called through the waters of Baptism to seek Him and to be with Him all the days of our lives. God delivers us from any difficulty because He sent His Son, Jesus, to make it possible for the fulfillment of His Covenant with us.
We receive Jesus again and again as we partake in the Eucharist, the Bread from Heaven par excellence! Yes, like Peter, even after receiving Jesus, we may experience doubt. God continues to walk with us and assures us of His presence. He does that through each one of us as we minister to one another.
Pope Francis asks us to not be afraid of suffering criticism and persecution for being faithful to God. He said, “There is a cost to remain faithful to what counts. The cost is going against the tide, freeing oneself from being conditioned by popular opinion, being separated from those who ‘follow the current.’”
At the end of the celebration of Mass, we are sent forth to do good works while praising and blessing the Lord. St. John Paul II spoke about the “liturgy after the Liturgy.” Evangelization based upon the Eucharist entails a commitment to put the Church’s social teaching into practice by promoting justice, particularly for our neediest brothers and sisters. You don’t have to look far and wide to be present to them for some live within your own home or on your street. The poor, the sick, the elderly who have been neglected, prisoners, those with physical or psychological disabilities, those enslaved by drug addiction, those marginalized because of unemployment, the young without horizons of hope, are the challenging presence of Christ whom we worship and receive in the Eucharist.
This is the back to school season. Now is the time to live through, with and in God so that we may carry each other when we falter. Teach our young people about how to live faithfully. They will teach you as you teach them. Care for one another as you see Jesus’s face upon each one. Hear the tiniest whisper of God calling you to prepare the way of His steps leading you to heaven.