THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for April 29th, 2017
Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena
Liturgical texts here
IF time feels as if it is speeding up, prayer is what will “slow” it down.
Prayer is what takes the heart, constrained by the body to the temporal moment, and places it into the eternal moment. Prayer is what draws the Savior near, He who is the calmer of Storms and the Master of Time, as we see in today’s Gospel when the disciples set out upon the sea.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.
At least two things are revealed here. One is that Jesus is always with us, most especially when we think He is not. The storms of life—suffering, financial burdens, health crises, family divisions, old wounds—they push us into the deep where often we feel abandoned and helpless, out of control. But Jesus, who promised He would always be with us, is right beside us repeating:
It is I. Do not be afraid.
This, you must accept with faith.
The second thing is that Jesus reveals that He is Lord of time and space. When we pause, put God First, and invite Him “into the boat”—that is, pray—then immediately we hand over to Him lordship over time and space in our own lives. I have seen this a thousand times in my own life. On the days where I don’t put God First, it seems as if I am a slave to time, at the whim of every storm wind that blows this or that way. But when I put God First, when I seek first His Kingdom and not my own, there is a peace that surpasses all understanding and even a new and unforeseen Wisdom that descends.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness… (Today’s Psalm)
I have been dialoguing with a man recently who is striving to be set free from pornography. He said he felt that God was far, far away, even though he desired a relationship with Him. So I explained to him that prayer is the relationship.
…prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit… Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.2565
It is the habit of daily, hourly, and each moment “taking him into the boat”, into your heart. For Jesus said, “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
The key, my dear brothers and sisters, is to pray with the heart, not just the lips. To enter into a real, living, and personal relationship with the Lord.
…it must then be ourselves (who) become personally involved in an intimate and deep relationship with Jesus. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Service, October 4th, 2006
…not Christ as a mere ‘paradigm’ or ‘value’, but as the living Lord, ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition of the Vatican Newspaper), March 24, 1993, p.3.
In those moments when the winds are blowing hard and you can barely think and you feel nothing… when the waves of temptation are high and the suffering is a blinding ocean spray… then these are moments of pure faith. In these moments, you may feel like Jesus is not there, that He does not care about your life and your details. But truly, He is beside you saying,
It is I. Jesus, who created you, who loves you, and who will never abandon you. So do not be afraid. You say to Me, “Why Lord do you allow me to enter these storms?” And I say, “To guide you to safer shores, to harbors that I know are best for you, not what you think is best for you. Do you not trust Me yet? Be not afraid. In this hour of darkness, I AM.
Yes, in those moments where prayer is like drinking sand and your emotions are like an unsettled sea, then simply repeat over and over again the words that Jesus taught us through Faustina: “Jesus, I trust in you.”
…everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord… Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (Acts 2:21; James 4:8)
And pray the words that Jesus taught the Apostles—not a prayer for the future, but a prayer for just enough for just today.
…give us this day our daily bread.
Your troubles may not leave. Your health may not change. Those who persecute you may not depart… but in that moment of faith, when you have once again invited the Lord of Time and Space into your heart, it is the moment in which you once again surrender the direction of your life to Jesus. And in His time, and in His way, He will lead you to the right harbor through the grace and wisdom He will impart. For…
Prayer attends to the grace we need… —CCC, n.2010
We must pray perseveringly to obtain this wisdom… We ought not to act, as so many do, when praying to God for some grace. After they have prayed for a long time, perhaps for years, and God has not granted their request, they become discouraged and give up praying, thinking that God does not want to listen to them. Thus they deprive themselves of the benefits of their prayers and offend God, who loves to give and who always answers, in some way or another, prayers that are well said. Whoever then wishes to obtain wisdom must pray for it day and night without wearying or becoming disheartened. Blessings in abundance will be his if, after ten, twenty, thirty years of prayer, or even an hour before he dies, he comes to possess it. That is is how we must pray to obtain wisdom…. —St. Louis de Montfort, God Alone: The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, p. 312; cited in Magnificat, April 2017, pp. 312-313
…if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. (James 1:5-6)
In a side note, from today’s first reading, the Apostles said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table….we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This is what I have also done. This full-time ministry depends upon the generosity and support of our readers. Thus far, just over one percent have responded to our Spring appeal for support, which leads me to wonder if Jesus is now leading me to a different harbor… Please pray for us if you are unable to support this ministry, and pray about how you can assist me in the ministry of the word, if you are. Bless you.
You are loved.
306.652.0033, ext. 223
THROUGH SORROW WITH CHRIST
A special evening of ministry with Mark
for those who have lost spouses.
7pm followed by supper.
St. Peter’s Catholic Church
Unity, SK, Canada
201-5th Ave. West
Contact Yvonne at 306.228.7435