God is Near

On September 04, 2016 last year, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa of Calcutta a Saint in St. Peter’s Basilica. During her lifetime, she was an icon of charity and compassion for millions. She was admired by her lifelong service to the poorest of the poor. Always on the public spotlight, she was called a “living saint.”
In 2003, a book was published “Come, be my Light.” It contains the private correspondences of Mother Teresa. Moreover, it revealed her “crisis of faith.” In one instance she wrote: “where is my faith? Even deep down there is nothing but emptiness and darkness.” Even saints experience dark nights.
Our life of faith is not always smooth sailing. We also suffer from dark nights, crisis and uncertainty.
In today’s Gospel (Mt 4:22-33) we read the episode of Jesus walking on the water. After the image of His Transfiguration, we have another powerful vision of faith. Jesus is above the storm!
Let us consider three reflections:
First, storms are part of our life. They are unavoidable. In a comic strip of “Peanuts,” Charlie Brown asks for a psychiatric help from Lucy. “You have hypengyophobia or fear of responsibility.” “No,” Charlie denies. “Maybe you have climacophobia or fear of staircases.” “No,” he again negates. “Or maybe you have ailurophobia or fear of cats.” “No,” Charlie opposes. “Then you have pantophobia or fear of everything!” “Yes!” Charlie affirms. All of us has pantophobia.. fear of everything in life. Deep down we are very insecure. This creates storms and problems in our life. Some real, others self-made.
Second, we need to pray. We need to trust a power greater than ourselves. Even Jesus prayed. After feeding the people, he had to flee to the mountain because they wanted to make him a king. Jesus had to renew the purity of his heart and his total commitment to His Father. People missed the point of His mission; he did not want to deviate from His Father’s Plan. Through prayer we maintain our focus in order to avoid the temptation to power and popularity.
Third, we need to experience the presence of Jesus. Today’s First Reading (1 Kings 19:9,11-13), narrates the prophet Elija’s experience with God. He was made to stand outside the cave he was staying. After the wind, the earthquake and fire, he felt God’s comforting presence through a gentle breeze. Instead, Peter experienced the presence of Jesus through His soothing words: “Courage. It is I! Do not be afraid”
Jesus is not a ghost. He is a God who is close to us; ready to stand by us in times of uncertainty and fear. His powerful presence is the source of our strength and security.

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