Take Courage, do not be Afraid (Matt 14:27)Reflections from the Shrine
As the disciples of Jesus were making the crossing in the boat at Jesus’ command (Matt 14:22), they were confronted by a violent wind that threw them into a panic (v 24). Battling against the strong waves unsettling their boat and being overwhelmed with fear of drowning in the middle of the sea, Jesus, whom they are yet to recognize, walks on the sea towards them. At this point, the fear of the disciples turns into helplessness. They cry out in fear “it is a ghost” (vv 25-26). But Jesus calms their fears with an invitation to take courage (v 27). Right about the time the disciples were overwhelmed by the strong waves of the sea, Jesus showed his authority and power over the sea by walking on it. Peter wishes to escape the chaotic and fearful experience on the boat to be with Jesus. So he said to Jesus, “Lord ask me to come to you” (v 28). Peter believes that to be with Jesus is better than to be on the boat that may sink under the threat of strong winds. As soon as Jesus joins the disciples on the boat, calm, peace and tranquility replace fear, anxiety and helplessness.
Are you feeling overwhelmed to the point of being drowned by the challenges you face in life? Many devotees of St. Jude coming to pray at the Shrine experience their progress in life impeded by the strong waves of hardships beating against their efforts towards a stable family life or career. Debbie recently found out that her position at work would no longer remain open. She is a single mother working hard to keep up with the demands of raising her family of two kids and also caring for a mother with rapidly deteriorating health issues. Debbie feels overwhelmed. She is concerned about the uncertain direction of her life, she is not only stressing but having panic attacks as the uncertain waves of the future sweep her off her comfort and spin her away from any remainder of hope that she has. Although she feels defeated by the massive size of her challenges, she told me that she is confident that God would be able to calm the stormy winds of hardship that assail her family. So she puts her trust in God and continues to ask in prayer for God’s intervention.
As Jesus showed His power over the disciples’ fear and anxiety by making an appearance at the very moment that they were overcome by fear, likewise, be assured that Jesus will be there for us when we feel subdued under the weight of our challenges. Debbie is joining us in prayer here at the Shrine of St. Jude to seek God’s compassionate intervention in the life of her family. Consider joining us to pray for courage and strength in moments of difficulties. Come pray with us to ask Jesus to be with us whenever we feel outclassed by the strong waves of hardship blowing around us.
Fr. Ferdinand Okorie, CMF
National Shrine of St. Jude