Sunday Reflection | Why did you doubt? - Saint John's Seminary
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Sunday Reflection | Why did you doubt?

August 13, 2023

I’m grateful for my mother’s serene and peaceful death. However, along the way of her final illness, there were distressing moments. In one of those, we read today’s Gospel at her bedside. We read it aloud, slowly, gently, several times, repeating some key lines. And then Christ came. He walked among us. He subdued the waters of distress and struggle. He calmed the storm. He brought his peace.

It's just a small example of how Christ continues to act through his Word. The Word of God does something. When proclaimed in faith, it has its own inherent power—the power of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit: the power of God. When mere words are inadequate, the Word of God speaks, transforms, and heals. The Word of God is for us, directed to us, and is fulfilled in our hearing.

From time to time, we reflect on difficult moments from the past. As the chosen people moved from the wilderness to the Promised Land, Moses reflected: “the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his child, all the way that you went” (Deut 1:31). Perceiving the hand of God, we hear the words of Christ: “O you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” Such reflection increases our trust in Christ’s saving power. Such reflection helps us live in the present, relying entirely on the Lord, who is sole master of the future.

In this Gospel, Jesus leads his disciples on a journey from terror and fear to the consoling revelation of God. “They were terrified,” we are told. Peter cries out in words we ourselves can pray: “Lord save me!” Jesus comes to them in their terror and fear and heals them from inside the situation. He doesn’t bypass the distress. He enters in and through it, and there he works his miracle.

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Christ is our hope, our certainty, our security. If only we trusted more in him! Our lives could be so different. He is the One who never lets us down. Today, hear him say to you: “Courage! It is I. Do not be afraid . . . Why did you doubt?” Peace!

We should never doubt his love for us. There is no storm he cannot calm. There is no situation he cannot transform. Archbishop Luis Martinez puts it well: “Whatever our failings . . . we have no right to lose either hope or peace. We are Christians and have received peace as a gift from heaven, as a seal of Christ, that peace which the world can neither give nor take away.”

There is Someone who stretches out his hand to catch me when I sink and cry out to him. Truly, he is the Son of God!

Rev. Joseph Briody

National University of Ireland, Maynooth, B.A.

Pontifical University, Maynooth, B.Ph.; B.D.; S.T.L.

Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, L.S.S.

Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, S.T.D., 2020

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