The Gospel according to Matthew (8:23-27)
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
As a Deacon, I’m required to take a retreat each year. The speaker at the retreat this last summer was Fr. Greg Adolf. He spoke about this scene we have in today’s Gospel, and I thought his observations about it would be good for us to consider as we ponder this particular story. He spoke about the story as recounted by Mark, but the lesson still applies to the retelling of the story by Matthew.
Fr. Greg’s comment about Jesus being asleep focused on the fact that He was sleeping on a cushion at the back of the boat. Those who heard this story knew about boats and the fact that Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat on a cushion meant He was at the place where the one who steered the boat would be. It was a position of stability. It was a reminder to His disciples (and to us) that Jesus is that one who provides stability for our days.
The question one can consider, though, is why did He just sleep while the storm tossed the boat on the water? Didn’t He care about His disciples? Didn’t He want them to feel safe and secure? The answer to those last two questions is (obviously) that He did care for them and He did want them to feel safe and secure. The problem is that they took their eyes off of Jesus and focused only on the waves throwing the boat around on the sea.
That’s a lesson we can take to heart as well. If life is tossing us around on the waves, let us remember that Jesus is there on the cushion, providing stability for us, if only we focus on Him, not on the stresses we encounter. If we focus on Him, we trust that He will help us to find a way through our current challenges, because He promised that He would never leave us. May that be a source of comfort to each of us today!
Action for the Day:
Sometime today, find a moment to look for that calm that Jesus brought to the sea in today’s Gospel. If your heart is burdened with care and worry, give that to Jesus and know that He will bring you through whatever challenges you today.
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!