|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XVIII: ”How Temporal Miseries are to be Borne with Patience Imitating the Example of Jesus Christ” (third entry)
We close this chapter with the opening words of it, placed into Christ’s mouth by the author. Nine words that neatly sum up the reason for the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. The Lord goes on to say that His life was one of constant suffering so that from Him we can learn patience in our trials and tribulations.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Mt 8:23-27
The Gospel relates the familiar story of Jesus and some of the disciples caught in a storm on the sea. Jesus is asleep (much needed, assuredly, as His day was filled with healings and exorcisms). The disciples are in a panic as the weather turns nasty, overwhelming even for the experienced sailors that were surely on the boat. They wake up the Lord (really tired, to be sure, but trusting in His Father more so) asking to be saved as they were sure their demise was imminent. Disappointed in their lack of faith, Jesus, with a word, calms the sea. His companions are astonished and wondered aloud about who He was.
Give the disciples credit, even though they called upon the Lord in desperation. They just witnessed this man performing miracle upon miracle, exorcism upon exorcism. Why not call out to Him for help? It couldn’t hurt and they had nowhere else to turn. Interesting that before calming the storm, Jesus rebukes his shipmates: “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
It is always beneficial, when Jesus asks a question in the Gospels, to attempt to answer it ourselves. We know Jesus came to save us because without Him we would perish. No longer, though. Despite the storms in life, sometimes overwhelming, Jesus is right there with us. Is our faith so small that we believe the Messiah cannot help us in our terror? Can we ask Jesus to calm our storms, to “save us”? Of course! But if He wills that we are to ride them out, He does so for our benefit (difficult as it may be to understand or accept) at the time. He understands suffering, anxiety (see Lk 22: 39-46; Jn 12:27; Jn 13:21), even terror (see Jer 20:10). He is our exemplar and He is with us the entire way, to save us for eternal life.