“It Is I”, The Lord Of Gentle Breeze

Our readings today share common factors: our Lord is a Lord of gentle breeze and He calms every turbulence to save us. In the First Reading from the First Book of Kings, (1 Kings 19:9, 11-13) we saw Elijah going in a cave at Horeb where he stayed for 40 days for security at the instance of Jezebel’s declaration of death on him. He was in a state of despondency. Three days prior to this episode he was so miserable that he asked God to let him die. We find him here in this reading hiding in a cave, seeking shelter in solid rock. But just as he sought for God’s face in a cave came an earthquake and then a hurricane of storm that smashed the rocks and cliffs of the mountains and God was not there. After all these he never saw the Lord until the Lord of the gentle breeze appeared not on fire and brimstone but with the gentle breeze. Also in the Gospel today (Mt. 14:22-33); the disciples and Peter found themselves to be in similar circumstances, in an open boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in a raging storm. “Where is God?” They wondered. Peter spoke up and said, “Lord, if it’s really you over there tell me to come to you across the water.” When Peter started walking on the water towards Jesus, he became frightened and began to sink. Consequently, he called out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (Mt. 14:30). Not only that the Lord saved him but He also calmed down the turbulent sea. Wow! Everywhere was calm at his presence.
After the feeding of the multitude Jesus sent his disciples away. This was because after the feeding of the multitude, the crowds wished to make him king by force (John 6:15). Hence Jesus compelled his disciple to exit the area. When he was alone, he went up into a mountain to pray; and by this time the night had come. The disciples had set out back across the lake. One of the sudden storms, for which the lake was known, had begun, and they were struggling against the winds and the waves, and making little progress. In ancient time the night was divided into four watches: 6 p.m – 9 p.m, 9 p.m – 12 midnight, 12- 3 a.m, and 3 a.m – 6 a.m. Hence it was at the fourth watch that Jesus, walking on the water towards his disciples saw the boat fighting with the waves, and came down to help.
In his temperamental actions; Peter was given to acting upon impulse and without thinking of what he was doing. He requested to walk on the sea. He was to do exactly the same when he affirmed undying and unshakable loyalty to Jesus (Mathew 26:33-35), and then denied his Lord’s name. Because Peter acted on impulse, he often failed and came to grief. It was always Jesus’ insistence that a man should look at a situation in all its bleak grimness before he acted (Mathew 16:24, 25). Jesus always bade men to see how difficult it was to follow him before they set out upon the Christian way. A great deal of Christian failure is due to acting upon an emotional moment without counting the cost. The wonderful thing about him is that every time he failed, he rose again; and his failure brought him closer to Jesus Christ. As has been well said, a saint is a man who gets up and goes on again every time he falls. Peter’s failures only made him love Jesus Christ more
In the hour of the disciples’ need Jesus came to them. When the wind was contrary and life was a struggle, Jesus was there to help. No sooner had a need arisen, than Jesus was there to help and to save. In life the wind is often contrary. There are times when we are up against it and life is a desperate struggle with ourselves, with our circumstances, with our temptation, with our sorrows, with our decisions. At such a time no man need struggle alone, for Jesus comes to him across the storms of life, with hand stretched out to save, and with his calm clear voice bidding us take and have no fear. When the needs of others call out to us, however, we must try to be present to them and respond to that need. Jesus sees the needs of His followers in their ordinary existence. Evangelization is being present in the ordinary and recognizing the deep need of others for the divine in their ordinary life. There are always storms and there is always need. It is not something extraordinary!
Like Elijah, we all long to see the Lord and yet we look in the wrong places! Not in some very special experience do we find the Lord, but in the small and the ordinary experiences of our daily life. We have to learn that the daily ordinariness of life is our cave and that the tiny whispering sound is always with us. We are invited to open our ears now and to stand in the entrance of our cave, our daily life which seems so ordinary. Today reminds us of Mother Theresa of the Child Jesus, who was popularly known as the saint of the little way. She believed not in doing great things but little things in great ways.
Today, we also see the profound need to act in faith and not rely on our human strength alone. The challenge is to keep our eyes and our hearts fixed only on Jesus and not on what is happening around us. We are aware of what is happening around us always, we cannot pretend otherwise. But in the heart of our daily existence, we can keep our hearts set only on the Lord. In that choice, Christ can become our power and our strength. Christ is the power and strength of love and of concern for others. The account of this miracle is recorded by Matthew so that we, like the disciples in the boat, might bow down before Jesus and acknowledge him to be the Son of God. In fact, all Jesus’ words and deeds were done for this reason: so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name (Jn 20:31). They were never done for their own sake.
Do not fear; “It is I”. These words are the answer to all our questions. It is Jesus. The one who sets prisoners free, who feeds the hungry, cures the leper, gives sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, who calms the sea, raises the dead. Even when challenged by epidemic and pestilence, Jesus says; ‘it is I’. Even though Ebola or Lassa fever may steer us on the face, Jesus says, “Be still and know that I am the Lord”. Find not the Lord in those supposed noisy places of expectations. Jesus is there in your room, in the quiet chapel e.t.c Why not try and challenge Him today that He may whisper to you; “be still it is I”.
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