Matthew 8: 23- 27, Mark 5: 35-41, Luke 8: 22-25
The journey was calm until they reached the middle of the inland sea. A storm came up dangerously tossing the boat in the waves. Water soaked each of the seasoned sailors drenching their clothing and bodies. Rain pelted their faces with sharp, stinging bites. The boat was tossed about the sea, and large waves filled the boat with water. Working hard to keep the boat from overflowing with water, these fishermen feared. They feared their boat would capsize. They feared they would loose their lives. They ran to the one who was still soundly sleeping on a small pillow in the boat. In spite of the rain, in spite of the waves, in spite of the pelting bites of rain, He slept without interruption. He slept so deeply that, when one of the men finally woke Him up, He blinked, not sure of what was happening. Then He saw their faces filled with fear and trepidation. He knew what they would ask. He knew they were frightened. He saw them in their weaknesses, but He loved them. “Master, Master,” they shouted. “Wake up. We’ll all drown.”
They had been with Him when He healed the sick. They had been with Him when He fed the poor. They had been with Him when He cured the leper, and they still did not know Him or believe.
He immediately rebuked the wind and the waves. The sea calmed, and there was peace flowing over the waters. He asked them, “Where is your faith?” They were amazed. They stood in awe wondering who this Man was who could command the sea and the winds, and the elements of nature would obey Him? Who was the one who healed the sick? Who was the one who commanded demons to leave a person, and the demons obeyed? Who was the one who fed the poor? Who was the one who saved the adulterous woman from the raging crowd and then forgave her sins telling her only to “Go and sin no more.” Who was this Man who calmed the sea and rebuked the wind? Who was this man? He was the one who walked with them daily. He was the one who taught them in the quiet of the night when the others slept. He was the one who took them to the base of the mountain to pray. He was the one who climbed the mountain where He would commune with His Father. He was the one who ate His Mother’s bread with great joy and delight. He was the one who loved people. He was the one who ate at the home of sinners. He was the one who called those outcasts to His table. He was the one who healed the woman whose life blood would not stop flowing no matter what the doctors did. He was the one who raised the child from the dead. He was the one who healed the centurion’s servant without going to the centurion’s home. He was the one who wept at the grave of Lazarus. He was the one who called Lazarus from the tomb and back into life. He was the one who changed water into wine. He was the one who could never say no to His Mother. He was the one who would do whatever she asked of Him. He was the one about whom John the Baptist spoke when John said, “I am not worthy to tie his sandal.” Yet, they were frightened, but He calmed the storm.
“Sweet Jesus, You calmed the storms. I have many storms raging in me and against me. I have not touched You. I cannot fly into Your physical arms to feel safe against the waves that pound me everyday. I am weak. Be with me. Hold on to me. Give me the stronghold of Your Love to cling to when I am fighting the waves and the wind. Help me, Lord Jesus. You are the King of Kings, the great High Priest. I need You and I wish for You to be with me as I walk through this storm. My Lord and My God. These words are not enough to praise You and adore you, but they are all that I have. My Lord and My God!”
Listen to what Jesus would say to you.
“My beloved child, you are right. I am with you in each of these storms. I have allowed these storms because I love you and I want you to be with Me in Paradise when your earthly journey is over. Yes, the Apostles were weak men who were confused because they didn’t understand what I was doing on earth. Some of them wanted Me to lead them into battle against the Romans. The other ones did not want to follow the path I was walking with them. They didn’t know or understand. They saw the miracles. They were there when I cured the sick and raised the dead. They saw these things happen, but they could not understand what I was doing as I ministered to my children on earth. It took the Holy Spirit to make them bold. It took the Holy Spirit to give them courage. They learned that they must be completely dependent on God. We are here for you, and we love you. Pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He is waiting for you. Pray for My love and protection. Go to the Father through me in the power of the Holy Spirit. We wait for you with love. Cling to us.”
Storms on earth are the movement of water, air, and electromagnetic forces in the atmosphere that combine to cause a shift in the balance of air, wind, earth and water. Sometimes these shifts change the environment. Land shifts. Water fills in where once there was land. Volcanoes fall into the sea. Waves rise and cover the land which were once populated by people and animals. Deserts become green. Forests become deserts. Deserts become forests. Storms change places. Storms change people. Storms rage in the depths of our hearts. The sea of pain is caused when our lives come to a grinding halt because we are caught in the vortex of indecision and uncertainty. Our souls are pelted with the freezing rain that cannot sooth us. Our lives fall apart. Our souls are bleeding and wounded. We stand alone in the world battling the demons of pain and sorrow. We seek medication that will take away the pain. We find that nothing takes away the pain, nothing soothes. Then, at the depths of the storm, it passes. The change has happened. We are different. We see with new eyes. Just as Lazarus was raised from the dead, we are raised from the depths of the storm. Our souls can never be the same. We are different. Healing begins. “Sweet Jesus, this is one of the most painful storms I have been through. I never knew pain like that before. I am beaten and battered by this storm. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know which way to turn. I am floating on a sea of anger and pain. My Lord, I do not want this pain. I do not want this anger. I see You and I hear You, but I cannot touch You so that Your Holy Hands can touch me and heal me. Lord, I don’t know what to do. Help me! I need You. I need to touch You. I need to hear You, but your voice and Your Hands are hidden from me. Help me, my Jesus. Help me, my Brother! Be the soft place I land when I am tossed by the sea and pelted by the waves and the frozen rain. Lord, I am beaten by the storm. Help me! Help me! I am yours.”
“My Dearest Child, although you can’t feel it, I hold you in the palm of My Hand. Did I not promise that to you in Scripture? My Father has counted the number of hairs on your head. He knows when the smallest sparrow falls. He knows your heart and your soul. Remember, when I walked the streets of Jerusalem, I knew you. I knew you before you were born. I knew you and your name is written in heaven. Now, in the middle of the storm you are facing, you need to listen. The Holy Spirit will inspire you as you battle this storm, and with our help, your journey will be more calm. Pray as though your life depends on it. The truth is, your life does depend on it. We wait for you. We listen for you. We know what is in your heart. I love you. I will help you, but you need to ask. You need to surrender your anger. You need to surrender your pain. I will take it from you. I will use it for good. After you have given Me these things, I will be able to touch you and hold you and heal you. I AM yours and you are mine. I love you! Remember this. I love you always.”
I’ve always loved St. Peter. I identify with this man who loved his God so much, he would eventually die for Him, even though, as Peter walked with Jesus, our brother, he would show his humanity, his bare soul, to our Brother, our God. Peter stepped out into the water to walk to Jesus on the Lake, however, even though he had taken a few steps, he became afraid. The water was not a stormy water even though there were waves, and he was fearful, so he began to sink. He yelled out for Jesus to help him, and, of course, Jesus reached out to Peter and brought him back to the safety of the boat, a much more humble man. Peter lacked trust. Peter saw the sick being healed. Peter saw the dead being raised. Yet, he did not trust. Peter tried his best to show his love for his Master, his Teacher, his Friend, and he was often gently rebuked by the Master who realized that Peter did not understand. There were others who had greater faith, greater trust, yet, Jesus chose this flawed and frail man to lead His church on earth. Peter who lacked faith in the storm; Peter who did not understand that the job of the Messiah was not to lead others into battle, but to serve, became our first Pope. Peter was caught in many storms. Many of them were of his own making, but with the grace of God, Peter was able to rise above the storms and lead the apostles and other disciples in firmly establishing our Church on earth. Peter learned to trust that Jesus would calm the storms. “Oh, Jesus, I see Peter, our Pope, who was frail and weak. He made so many mistakes in Your Presence. He was a sinner who fell many times, and even committed the grave sin of denying You as You suffered Your Passion. Oh, Jesus, You lifted Peter up from his sin. You forgave him his weaknesses. You forgave his denial of You. He was not with You at the cross. Peter didn’t believe the women who told him of the triumph of the Resurrection, until he saw the empty tomb. He was weak, but You kept Your promise of the Paraclete who would ignite this small group of women and men, and they would spread the Word of God throughout the world. Oh my Jesus! I am weak. I am frail. I am in pain. Help me when I fall. I was not there as you walked the streets of Jerusalem on Your way to the cross. I’m sure I would have run and hidden had I lived then. Oh, Jesus, I am yours, but I am so weak! Please send me the Holy Spirit so that I might become strong. Please send me the Holy Spirit so that I might be a force of love and joy for those around me, especially those who walk in the storms and dark night of the soul. I praise You, Sweet Jesus! I adore You!!! Walk with me as I journey on earth. Walk with me as I tread the path You have chosen for me. I praise You and I adore You. You are my King and the Great High Priest. You are the Christ the Son of the living God. Thank You, my King. Thank you, I adore You. Help me. Calm the storms that rage around me and others. Help me to serve You and Your children with love. I am yours, Sweet Jesus, I am Yours.
Listen to what Jesus might say to you.
“I loved Peter in spite of his weaknesses. I knew when the Holy Spirit came, he would be the leader that My church would need, and he would make My church strong. Peter surrendered himself to Me. He left behind his ideas of who and what God should be, and he accepted Me even though he did not necessarily understand My ways. Peter often stumbled in his earthly journey, but he gave his life for love of Me. He chose to serve Me in this way. After the Holy Spirit filled him, Peter never looked back. He knew I was God. He knew he would serve. He would follow my path wherever it would lead. He established My Church on earth. Peter became a saint. Peter walked through storms that I did not calm. Peter endured great sufferings in My name. Peter rose from the death of his old self and surrendered himself to Me. Give Me your life. Give Me all that you are and will be. I will lead you and guide you. Remember, it is through Me to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. I AM yours and I desire to have you with Me. Pray for these graces, and they are yours.”
The Way, the Truth, and the Light
The teacher asked, “Who do they say that I AM?” The Apostles responded: “They say you are the Baptist. They say you are Elijah.” Then He asked, “And Who do you say that I AM?”
Peter knelt at the Master’s foot. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Peter knew. Yet, on the boat, he feared. At the trial, he denied Jesus 3 times. In all his storms before the Resurrection, Peter feared. Then, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, he became bold, brazen and a problem for the Roman government, as did all of those baptized in the Spirit. No longer fearful of the storms, Peter plunged into the storms declaring his love for the Lord and his belief in Jesus, the Christ, the Light of Heaven, the King of Kings, the great High Priest.
The Palmist said, “ Even though I walk through the valley of death, I shall not fear, for I know You are at my side.” Peter finally understood.
“Lord, My life would be so much easier without the storms I face each day. I know I could be kind if there were more kind people in the world. I know I could be loving, if others treated me in a more loving way. Lord, I have given myself to You, but You have not made it easy on me. If I wake up in a good mood, I find that my mood sours when the bus driver or the cab driver are rude to me. What about the young woman who made my coffee today. Did she spit in it? Lord, I love You, but I don’t see why You don’t change those people and make them the nice people. I know then that I would be nicer to them if they were nicer to me. My boss yelled at me today in a meeting. I was humiliated. I was so embarrassed. My boss does not realize I didn’t make the mistake. My boss made the mistake and everyone is afraid and will not speak up about the mistake. I’m all alone. I can’t believe that you want me to pray for my boss, to ask you to bless my boss? Lord, I don’t know if I can do this. When I got home, my spouse yelled at me. My children were in trouble at school, and they were punished. My spouse thinks this is my fault. Lord, what am I to do? You could make my life easier, but you don’t. Lord, I don’t get it. Am I just like Peter? You helped him. Help me, Lord, help me. Send me your Holy Spirit. I seek You. I seek the Father. I seek the Holy Spirit. Lord, help me. I don’t know what to do.”
Listen to what Jesus might say to You.
“I know you had a bad day. You are feeling very sorry for yourself and licking your wounds tonight. In spite of all you endured today, I was with you. I helped you at that meeting. I know what your boss said to you, hurt you, but yes, I do want you to pray for your boss. I want you to bless your boss. I want you to pray for the cab driver who was rude. I want you to pray for the young woman who served you your coffee. No, she did not spit in your coffee, but she was tempted. You were very rude to her. She left home in great pain today, and you did not help to ease her pain by being rude to her. She is also my beloved child as is your boss, the cab driver, your spouse and your children. All my children are beloved to Me. Do you think I need to change them? Perhaps you need to change you. Offer your hurts and pains to Me. Remember, when I was on the cross, I felt much greater pain than what you felt today. I felt the nails pierce My skin. I felt the lashes of the whips. I felt the thorns pierce my skull. Yet, I prayed for my tormentors and my murderers. You must do the same. My Father allowed the people of My Time to torture and kill Me. I knew it would be painful. I knew My death would be a death no one would want to endure. Yet, I suffered for you. I saw you as I was beaten and whipped. I saw you as I felt the nails pierce My hands. The Father did not calm this storm for Me, and He is Love. He Loved you so much that He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son. I accepted His Will because I loved you. Change can only come from love. Do you love Me?”
In his 33 years that He lived on earth, Jesus saw the hearts and souls of our frail humanity. Our sisters and brothers, who lived at the same time, were blessed to see our God as He walked from town to town, embracing sinners, forgiving sins, calming the storms, enjoying His friends and family. Many accepted Him immediately as the Son of God, the Messiah. Many wanted Him to be the military man who would lead them into battle and free the Jews from the oppression of the Roman Empire. Jesus knew this, and He knew that they did not understand His Mission in life. He came to free us. He came to save us. He came to battle for His beloved children. He did not come to defeat the Roman Empire. He came, and many did not understand this, to be our Savior. He came to defeat death by rising from the dead. He came to help us become closer to the Trinity by teaching us how to live and pray. He came to teach us to defend ourselves from the evil one. He came with His Heart and Soul on fire for love of us. Jesus was the gift of the Father to humanity. Jesus, our brother, was the son of God and the son of Mary. He came to give us healing. He came to make us whole when we were beaten down by the storms of our life. He is the way, the truth and the light. “Oh, Jesus, can I even begin to say thank You for all that you have done for us?
You established your church on earth. You used frail, weak men to be the leaders of Your church, but with the fire of the Holy Spirit, they did what You asked. They traveled to the ends of the earth to give the gift of Your church to everyone! My Lord, I am so humbled by this. You took these weak frail men and You turned them into great saints who were willing to give their lives for You. You came to free us, and you did. You came to defeat death, and You did. My Lord and God! These words do not praise you enough for the gift of Your great love. You calmed the storms. You fed the hungry. You healed the sick. You brought people back to life. Oh, My Jesus! How can I say thank You? Words are not enough. I love You. I am grateful for all that You have done for me, for us. Jesus, My Lord! My God!
My All! Lift me, change me. Make me a saint. I am Yours. I surrender all to You. Help me. My sins are great.”
Listen to what Jesus might say to you.
“My Dearest Child, Even though you do not see them or feel them, I send you the graces everyday to become a saint. Yes, I know you are frail. I know you are weak, but I walk with you everyday as I walked with My Apostles and Disciples on earth. I AM real. I AM with you as you walk the path I have carved out for you. Yes, I know your life would feel easier and better if you did not face the storms I allow in your path. Like My Apostles, You forget that I command the forces of Nature. I calm the storms. Face each storm in your path with your eyes on Me. I AM here. I AM with you. Invoke My Name. Invoke the Holy Spirit. Invoke the Father. We walk with you. Put yourself aside so that you can feel the graces I send you each day. Grow less so that I can grow more in You. You will not be sorry. Pray for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pray to the Father. Ask Me for more graces. I AM with you. I AM.”
There are those visionaries, today, who have seen The Lord face to face. Most of us, though, have not, but we have seen Him in the Eucharist – consecrated bread and wine. We see the consecrated bread and wine, and we see bread and wine. It is an act of faith that, when we see the consecrated bread and wine, that we believe that Jesus, the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity, the Most Holy Son of God and Mary, is fully alive and present after the priest, with his anointed hands, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, brings to the earth, the body and blood of Jesus, the Christ. It is then that we can strike our breasts and say, “My Lord and My God!” Jesus is fully present on the altar waiting for us to come to Him in thoughtful adoration. Blessing upon blessing, grace upon grace descends to the altar from God the Father creator of the universe and everlasting God!
Angels cry out with joy, their cries hidden from our earthbound ears. Jesus, our brother, the light of heaven, the giver of life, the eternal high priest waits with open arms as we, in great humility, walk to the priest to receive Him in the Eucharist. In this presence, Jesus is alive as the man Peter saw and knelt before saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
“Jesus, I had a hard time concentrating at Mass today. I wanted to be with You, but all I could hear was that woman who sings off key, and she was terrible today!! I couldn’t concentrate on You even though I wanted to unite myself to You. I was late for work because I went to Mass. I was written up because I was late. That doesn’t exactly help my career. My coworker, You know the one I mean, came to my cubicle crying again because her children are rude to her and her husband is mean to her. Sweet Jesus, I can’t help her. I have enough problems of my own. What am I supposed to do? She needs a therapist. I’m not one. And then there’s the man down the hall. You can smell him before you get to his office. He was given his own office because of his body odor. No one wants to be around him. What’s with that? I know you’re there in the host. I know all that, but that sure didn’t help me today, did it? All I get is grief, and I try to be good. You made my life harder today. I don’t need that. “
Listen to what Jesus Might say to you.
“My dearest Child, in spite of your sins and short comings, I do love you. Yes, I know you were at Mass this morning, but you weren’t praying. You were thinking of that game last night on TV. You were thinking of ways to make more money so you could afford a vacation this year. When did you make time for Me at Mass? I’m sorry my daughter offends you with her voice, but did you forget to offer that small discomfort up to Me? I could have used that small sacrifice today. Yes, I know you were late to work and you were written up. However, did you know that the parking place you usurped from the woman in the car was meant for her? She was in great pain today, and she had to walk much farther than you did. I blessed her after she offered up her anger and frustration and pain to Me today after you stole her parking space. Today, I needed you to be My ears and My voice. I needed you to smile at the man who smells. He needed a friend. He knows he’s alone. Did you know he’s working with a doctor to try to eliminate the smell from his body. This is a cross I gave him. He offered it up again to me today. I used his sacrifices for you. I’m sure you don’t realize that. The truth is, your life was easier because of his offerings. Your life was easier because of the woman who cried. She was seeking comfort and kindness. In spite of this, I still love you and I hope that tomorrow you come to Mass prepared to show Me your love. I want to love you, but you push me away. Please come to Me. Ask for the graces you need. I will give them to you. I promise you that. Offer up your sufferings to me. Your world will be a better place. The storms will calm, and I will calm them for you.”
Uniting With Jesus
In the Eucharist we have our brother Jesus, as fully alive and real as when He walked on earth 2000 years ago. Should we kneel in His Presence? Should we prostrate ourselves in humble adoration as we receive? The Catholic Church gives us the options to do this in front of the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus. After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, we can then choose to join Him by surrendering our souls, our bodies, our personalities, our lives to Him for that brief time that we carry Him in our bodies. When His Eucharistic Presence leaves our bodies, we can remain in Him through prayer and adoration.
“Jesus, my Brother, I give You all that I am and can be. You have given me your love, and I choose to serve You in every way that I can. Lord Jesus, I am yours. Do with me what you will. I know you are with me. I know that you walk with me. I know that You are alive in me. Help me to be all that You want me to be. I am yours. I love you.”
Listen to what Jesus Might Say to You
“My Precious Child, you honor Me with your love. I thank you for this. You chose to accept the graces I gave you at Mass. You praised Me. You adored Me. You honored Me. I AM so pleased with your gifts. I know your road has been difficult. I know that your road has not been easy, but each day at Mass you give Me your love. I cannot ask for more than this. I love you. I hold you in the palm of My Hand. Come, be with Me. You are My Beloved Child. I AM your God.”
The Storm Rages
When Jesus walked the earth, there was no internet. There were no cell phones. News and information moved very slowly. When Jesus was arrested and brought to trial, the storm raged in Jerusalem and the news spread quickly. In the Garden, Jesus saw His torture and death. He asked the Father to “let this cup pass.” However, He added, “not My Will but Yours be done.” Then He left the garden and faced his captors. The storm of evil rose and surrounded Him. Evil attacked with full force. He was spit upon. He was beaten until His sacred face was unrecognizable. He was tortured with the whip until his skin hung from His Precious body in strips. He was beaten until He could barely stand. His Precious Blood was poured into the earth for us. He was ordered scourged by Pilate who sought to escape blame for “the blood of this just Man.” Pilate knew the killing of Jesus was wrong, but he was afraid of Rome. Jesus reminded Pilate that the only authority Pilate had came from His Father. Pilate did not understand. He sought to protect his own life. The Jewish leaders, fueled by satan, screamed for Our Savior’s Most Precious Blood. Pilate publicly washed his hands allowing the Jews to crucify the Lamb of God. Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem carrying His cross, near death. The crowds jeered Him. These were the same people who cheered Him as rode in triumph into Jerusalem. Now, the women wept. Veronica wiped His most precious face as she ministered to Him. His Mother, John, and the other women followed the procession of death to the skull. They saw the nails pierce His skin. They saw Him hanging on the cross. They stayed with Him until He drew His last breath. As He suffered, he prayed for His captors. He prayed for those who condemned Him. He prayed for those who beat Him. He prayed for those who crowned Him with thorns. He prayed for those on either side of Him. He gave His mother to John, His Beloved Apostle. His earthly responsibilities were over. The storm would soon be calmed. He hung His Head and He died. We had been redeemed. He would soon finish the act by rising from the dead.
In the tomb, the angels kept watch. In her home with John, His Mother prayed with John and the other apostles and waited. At dawn, she knew. The women who had gone to anoint His body came back telling the Apostles that His Body was gone. Mary, the Magdalene, spoke to Him in the garden near the tomb. She came back telling Peter and the others that He Had Risen. Peter and John raced to the tomb. They found the tomb empty, as the women had said, and the burial wrappings folded on the stone where he had lain. The Redemption had been completed. Death was defeated. He had risen from the dead. They saw Him and believed.
“My Lord and My God! You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. You lived for us. You died for us. You rose from the dead for us! We praise You and we adore You. Your love is boundless! You endured pain. You endured suffering. You endured rejection. You endured betrayal. You endured the unendurable. You saw your beloved Apostles run and hide in fear of their lives. When Your life was over, you gave all that you could. Only blood and water flowed from your side. You had nothing left to give. My Jesus! My Jesus! My Jesus! Yet, when You rose from the dead, your promised another gift – the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. You suffered the storm to give us life. You suffered the storm to save our souls and give us eternal life. The storm could only calm when Your life ended. My Jesus! My Jesus! I am humbled that You gave Your life for me. I am humbled that you suffered for me. I am humbled that You loved me that much. I am weak. I collapse in the storms I face. Jesus, My Lord and My God! I love You! You are the King of Heaven. You are the Light of Heaven. You are the King of Angels. You are the Second Person of the Trinity. My Lord, My God, My All. Forgive me. I surrender myself to You. Let me be your Hands, Your feet, Your truth. I am yours. You are My God!”
Listen to what Jesus Might Say to You.
“My Beloved Child, I love you! I AM your God. I have your name carved in the book of life in heaven. I hold you in the palm of My Hand. I AM Love. I AM truth. I AM the way. Look to Me when you are in the storm. I send My angels to take care of you. I give you the path to eternal life. I hold you in my heart and I long for the day you come home. Be kind. Be loving. Be My Eyes, My Ears, My Mouth, My Hands, My Feet. Be My Love to those who are hard to love. Take Me with you where ever you go. Forgive and ask to be forgiven. This will set you free. Walk My path with love. Suffer for those around you. Embrace the crosses I send to you. Give them to Me with love, and you will be given eternal life. I AM the way, the truth and the life. Be strong in My love and know that I AM with you until the end of time. If they persecute you, rejoice, for they persecuted Me first. If they harm you, rejoice, for they harmed Me first. If they reject you, rejoice, for they rejected Me first. Ask for the graces you need. I will give you those and more. I AM a generous God. I AM the God of Abraham. I AM the God of Issac and Jacob. I AM the God of David. I AM the God of the chosen people. I AM the God of all mankind. I AM the Redeemer. I AM the Son of God. I AM the Son of Mary, My Mother. I AM your brother. Go out into the world and proclaim your inheritance. Be still and know that I AM God.”