Optional Memorial of Saint André Bessette, religious
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6TH Mk. 6: 45-52 “They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary their hearts were hardened.”
Part 1: Introductory Points
Part 2: HOPE AND TRUST IN OUR LOVING FATHER by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
- They have been taught by the living Word of God. They have seen the Lamb of God forgive sins, cure every illness and disease, and drive out demons. Earlier today they saw Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes to feed five thousand. Yet they are “completely astounded” to see Him walking on the water! Why? “Their hearts were hardened.”
- We are not unlike them… Jesus speaks to us in Holy Scripture… He feeds us with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion… He raises His hand to absolve us of our sins in Confession… He gave us His Mother to be our Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope… He sent the Holy Spirit to protect the Deposit of Faith that came from the Apostles and is still being taught by Holy Mother Church today… He gave us our Holy Father and good priests to shepherd us in the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is Jesus Christ… the Holy Spirit as our Counselor and Consoler!
- As if that were not enough, we have the witness of the martyrs and the saints of every age! And in our own lives, we have seen prayers answered and miracles of healing physically and spiritually for ourselves and others.
- Yet how often are we unwilling to trust God with our day to day decisions, relying instead on our own understanding! How often are we panic-stricken when we find ourselves tossed about by the winds and storms of life! Are not our hearts still hardened, like the disciples’ hearts???
- “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Jn.3:16-17)
- As we enter the New Year, let us beg for the grace of unlimited hope, trust and confidence in our Loving Father in all situations and circumstances! And may that fill our hearts with peace and the joy!
PART 2: HOPE AND TRUST IN OUR LOVING FATHER by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
We must have a firm, solid, staunch faith and trust in God in all times, places and circumstances. If our faith and trust in God is never put to the test by the fire of trials and tribulations, then it usually does not grow. In nature, plants and trees that have weathered the inclement climate of strong winds, raging tempests, rain, sleet and snow will be the most robust when future inclement weather descends.
Similarly with the followers of Christ—trials, tribulations, afflictions, contradictions, sufferings, and setbacks can serve to fortify and make robust our interior life.
In the midst of the turmoil and tempests that we all experience, we must fervently beg for hope and trust in God, now more than ever. It is proven in nature that in a tornado there is actually calm in the eye of the tornado. Likewise with a hurricane—there is calm in the eye of the hurricane. In a storm raging out on the ocean, in the depths and bottom of the ocean, there is a real calmness and tranquility. Likewise it should be in our personal spiritual lives. A tendency towards laziness, complacency, and even lukewarmness can visit all of us in our spiritual life. God does not want tepid and mediocre followers. Quite the contrary, God most ardently desires fire, fervor, and passion in our hearts toward Him. This will only happen when we truly believe that God is our calm in the midst of life’s trials. He is our tranquility in the depths of our heart and soul when the storms of life threaten to overtake us.
This being the scenario, what are some potent reasons for our depositing our hope and trust in God.
1. GOD’S OMNIPRESENT, PROVIDENTIAL CARE. Even in the midst of the most difficult situations that can exist in the world, God is always present, God never ceases to exist. In truth, God can never fail to exist and be present to us. Quite the contrary! Saint Paul quoting the Greek poet states: “In God we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Jesus says that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, that He actually has you and me in His loving hand, and nobody can snatch us from the loving hand of our Eternal Father. (Jn. 10:19)
2. GOD LOVES US AND PUTS US TO THE TEST. If God really loves us, which He certainly does always, He puts us to the test, like Abram who was tested to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Gen. 22:1-19) Also, Jesus tested Peter by sending him out with the other Apostles in the boat to cross the lake, even against their will. (Mt. 14:22-33) Then Jesus came walking on the waters and challenged Peter to come to Him walking on the waters, saying “Come.” Leaving the comfort of the boat, Peter actually did walk on the waters of Lake Galilee, at least for a short time, but then he began to lose heart and sink. Why did Peter sink? The response to that question is the response to our own many questions, doubts, and fears: Peter lifted his eyes, his gaze from the Person and the eyes of Jesus, to the waters surrounding him. That is our problem. Instead focusing our eyes on the Problem-solver—that is, Jesus our Lord, God and Savior—we focus more on the problem in front of us. When we focus more on the problem than on the Problem-solver, we sink in the tumultuous waves of our own fears, doubts and insecurities. Therefore, in the midst of the many tempestuous storms that we experience—and there are often more than one—let us focus less on the problem and more on the Problem-solver: Jesus our Lord, God and Savior!
3. LORD, SAVE ME! As Peter was quickly sinking beneath the waves, he cried out: “Lord, save me!” Jesus stretched out his hand, gently rebuking Peter for his lack of faith, and lifted Peter out from the surging waves. Then Peter walked again on water beside Jesus, entered the boat with Jesus, and the boat arrived safely and securely at the shore with speed and graceful ease! Like Peter, when it seems as if the world is caving in on us from all different sides, angles, and situations, then we must cry out with all of our heart and with dauntless faith: LORD, SAVE ME!!! The gentle voice of Jesus will be heard in your heart, and His gentle but firm and loving Hand will save you from drowning in the surging waves of your many doubts, fears, and insecurities. What a short but powerful prayer: LORD, SAVE ME!
4. THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, THERE IS NOTHING I SHALL LACK. (PSALM 23)
Another enormous lifesaver in the midst of the storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes of the human drama is the beautiful, consoling, comforting prayer Psalm 23—the Psalm of the Good Shepherd. Probably the most known and loved of all of the 150 Psalms, the Psalm of the Good Shepherd can prove to be a real Lifesaver! When you are cast into a deep state of desolation, and it seems as if life can be compared to a dark, damp, dreary, endless and depressing tunnel, why not leave the tunnel and open your Bible to the passage of the Good Shepherd—Psalm 23. Very calmly, very slowly, very prayerfully read this passage, once, twice, or even three times. Allow this beautiful Psalm, through a real spiritual osmosis, penetrate, permeate and absorb your whole being. Allow one of the words or concepts to captivate and enthrall your heart; relish that word or phrase; repeat it and allow it to fill you with a peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall lack.” Maybe these are the words that touch you most. With these words there is no need to fear because the Good Shepherd takes me to green pastures and nourishes my soul.
5. MOTHER OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. If surrounded by an atmosphere of gloom and doom, we must also lift up our eyes, our mind, and our heart to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many are the encouraging titles for Mary, titles that can really lift our spirits: Mary is our life, our sweetness, and our hope; the Star of the Sea, amidst the storms; the Cause of our Joy; the Gate to Heaven; Our Mother of Consolation; Our Mother of Perpetual Help! Many more are the titles of Mary our Mother. However, why not turn to Mary in her motherly, loving presence at the Wedding Feast of Cana. (Jn. 2:1-12) The couple run out of wine. Being first to capture this embarrassing situation, Mary turns to Jesus and says: “They have no more wine.” In this unfortunate circumstance, the festivities would be over. Then Mary says to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you!” Miracle! Water transformed into wine, but the best of all wines, through the power of Jesus and the maternal presence of Mary, and the power of her intercession. Therefore, in the midst of your fears, doubts, insecurities, sadness, and many questions, lift up your mind, your heart, and soul to Mary. Beg her to turn to Jesus and ask Him to transform your water into the most splendid and exquisite wine. If you trust in Mary, it will indeed happen!
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA