Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
The storms featured in the Gospel help us understand how to live when we go through difficult times. Sometimes it seems life hits us like the waves of a sea, washing our hopes away. One can hardly live when we see no reason to endure – when we can’t seem to find a way out. We feel like Jesus is asleep while we are doing everything we can to stay afloat:
“A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’”
This prayer may almost seem like a blasphemy, yet it conveys a feeling we often experience. But Jesus acts and speaks in a way that should make us think.
He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’
Jesus shows the relationship between the gift of faith and the experience of fear. The more you have faith, the less you have fear. However, it is wrong to think that the more faith you have, the less you will suffer. You will still face difficulties, but they won’t crush you, you won’t feel like you’ve failed, you won’t fear ending up alone. On the contrary, believing implies knowing that we are not alone – even if we feel so.
Believing is not being afraid to suffer or having to face hardship. Believing is never losing sight of the fact that Jesus is with us. Faith is knowing that He is here, now, and for this very reason we can face all the storms in the world. Evil wants us to lose sight of this essential detail.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.