Friday, August 8, 2014

In the midst of the crisis

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 10, 2014

Matthew 14:22-33

It isn't hard to see in Jesus' disciples' boat, buffeted by the waves and overwhelmed by the strong headwind, the image of the Church today, threatened from without by all sorts of adverse forces and tempted from within by fear and lack of faith. How do we interpret this Gospel story from the crisis in which the Church seems shipwrecked today?

According to the evangelist, Jesus approaches the boat, walking on the water. The disciples aren't able to recognize him in the midst of the storm and the darkness of night. He seems like a "ghost" to them. Fear has them terrified. The only thing real is that mighty tempest.

This is our first problem. We are living out the crisis in the Church by spreading discouragement, fear, and lack of faith to one another. We aren't able to see that Jesus is approaching us precisely from this strong crisis. We feel more alone and defenseless than ever.

Jesus says three words to them: "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Only Jesus can speak that way to them. But their ears only hear the roar of the waves and the force of the wind. This is our mistake too. If we don't hear Jesus' invitation to place our unconditional trust in him, to whom shall we go?

Peter feels an inner urge and, sustained by Jesus' call, jumps out of the boat and goes toward Jesus walking on the water. So we are to learn today to walk toward Jesus in the midst of the crisis, leaning not on power, prestige, or past assurances, but on the desire to meet Jesus in the darkness and uncertainty of these times.

It's not easy. We too can vacillate and sink like Peter. But, like him, we can also experience that Jesus reaches out and saves us while saying to us, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?".

Why do we doubt so much? Why are we learning hardly anything new from the crisis? Why do we go on seeking false security to "survive" within our communities, without learning to walk with renewed faith towards Jesus in the very midst of the secularized society of our time?

This crisis isn't the end of Christian faith. It's the purification we need to free us from worldly interests, deceptive triumphalism and distortions that have alienated us from Jesus over the centuries. He is acting in this crisis. He is leading us to a more gospel-centered Church. Let's rekindle our faith in Jesus. Let's not be afraid.

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