First Reading Commentary
For the word “storm” the Latin Vulgate uses the word “turbine” which means “whirlwind” and you’ve probably guessed that from “turbine” is where we get the word “turbulence”.
This Reading is an ideal opener for this weekend’s Gospel. We live in an age where weather patterns have seemingly brought the world an increase of violent storms. But perhaps what plagues our minds even more than uncontrollable winds and water are our personal storms - those problems we face in life that just never seem to go away. God reminds Job and us Who is the One that can still the turbulence.
As Christians, we can and should remind ourselves Who is the One that is even more powerful than death. As we’re looking for our personal storms to be stilled, God is teaching us about His desire for us to be still and have faith as He says: “Be still and see that I am God” (Psalm 45 :11).
Second Reading Commentary
Allowing oneself to be butchered and nailed to a cross for the sake of love probably seems unreasonable or even maniacal to the human mind. Although faithful Christians would never use such strong adjectives when speaking of Christ, His level of love is, nonetheless, far beyond human comprehension.
The only way to defeat an enemy is to confront it. Every human being that has crossed over that line and confronted death has lost - that is, until God became Man. Jesus confronted death and death lost. Our chance at everlasting life was given to us because of death’s everlasting defeat at the Hands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As unfair as it seems to be cursed with original sin at birth because of one man’s fall, then we’d have to admit that it’s equally unfair to be offered a chance at eternal bliss because of one Man’s victory. But who’s complaining about the victory?
At baptism we experience death, that is, death of the old self but we rise to a new life in Christ. Unfortunately, the way of our culture indicates that this new life is taken for granted. But the only way to change our culture is to first change ourselves and be faithful to that new life in Christ.
For most of us, as evening draws on, we cross over from our jobs to our life at home. Given the stress level that many face at their place of business, as well as the possible inclement weather during the trip back and forth, plus traffic jams, the art of defensive driving, and even at home where financial concerns, our children’s grades in school, physical health and a whole closet full of other possible concerns plague our minds, it’s fair to say that we’re not strangers to storms.
In this Gospel story, a good image to form in your mind is that when you’re in a boat out in the middle of the ocean and the waves are crashing on all sides, there is seemingly nowhere to turn. What can you do? The key here from this Gospel is that Jesus is with His disciples in the crowds, He is with them in the boat, and He is with them in the “violent squall”.
The question asked in this Gospel, “Do you not care that we are perishing,” in our lives can easily be translated into words we have said such as, “Why me Lord” or “Why are You allowing this to happen to me” or “What good could possibly come from this?”
Jesus is asleep because is He is the Calm in every storm. Meteorologists tell us that the eye of a storm is the calmest part. Jesus is our Eye! We need to acknowledge that Jesus is with us at home, on the job, and on all journeys of life. And acknowledgment here is not simply an understanding or belief, but instead, efforts have to be made throughout the day to say a little prayer to keep ourselves ever mindful of His Presence.
A Carthusian monk, Dom Augustin Guillerand, calls this a “movement towards Him Who Is”. To constantly move towards Christ is to never forget He is there. And finally, it was also Dom Augustin Guillerand who wrote: “Prayer is the duty of every moment.” And in this turbulence we call “life,” who could ever question that?