For most of us, our fathers are or have been examples of God’s unconditional love in our lives. Our fathers are our best cheerleaders, loving us unconditionally, have sat with us in hardship and celebrated our successes, offered both solicited and unsolicited advice, have modeled discipleship to us. For these and many other attributes, we give thanks to God for our fathers today. The boat is being tossed about like a rag doll, there is a good chance they may drown, and remember that these are fishermen not novice sailors. The disciples have reason to fear. It is startling to hear Jesus say, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” These are Jesus words to his disciples as they wake him from sleep on the stern of the boat midst a violent storm --- talk about being a sound sleeper! Do not be afraid! Scholars have reported that these words are spoken some 365 times in the bible. Fear is a strong emotion in most of our lives. One psychiatrist writes, “Toxic worry is a disease of the imagination. It is insidious and invisible, like a virus. It sets upon you unwanted … stealing its way into your consciousness until it dominates your life. As worry infiltrates your mind, it diminishes your ability to enjoy your family, your friends … because you live in fear of what might go wrong. It undermines your ability to work, to love, and to play.” Fear can bring us into in action, zap us of joy. Jesus is quite clear, we cannot grow in faith, unless we learn to deal with our fears. Our fears are like the winds of the violent storm the disciples face in the gospel today. Some of the common pressures in peoples’ lives that lead to fear: job pressures, money concerns, health issues, and relationship
worries, including divorce and loneliness. In addition, many face stresses from social media and poor sleep behaviors.
And at even deeper level, these fundamental questions: Am I enough? Can I survive all the things that scare me? How can I be certain, that this action, word, or thought is not sinful, causing me to be on the road to hell. Notice Jesus’ response today, he does not scold the disciples for waking him up or dismiss their fears. Rather he rises and speaks three words: “Peace be still!” In those moments when the world seems to be crashing in around you or self-doubt enters your heart, hear Jesus say to the storm raging within
you: “Peace be still!” Jesus invites us to put faith over fear. Our fears are real, but God’s love assures us nothing will harm us. Jesus modeled what faith looks like, as he faced his fears in the garden at the Mount of Olives. Strengthen through his prayer, Jesus enters his passion and death, knowing he would overcome. We know the end of the story; Jesus rose from the dead. As fears enter your life, take Jesus’ hand and let him lead you. He who quieted a raging storm, will certainly quite any storm of life you are facing. Fr. Ron