Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's With Sundays? 1-23...24-2010

Christ Walking on the Water ... Amedee Varin, 1860

What makes today, Sunday, (or, for my Jewish friends, Saturday) different than the other days of the week? Some might answer "Because we have to go to church or temple. Perhaps! Perhaps we might think about the event depicted above as another possibility. Jesus had several hours earlier brought about the feeding of some 5000. He realized his miraculous activity would add to the fears the government officials had about his ministry. He sent the disciples to their boat to go toward Bethsaida. He needed time alone with his Father in prayer.

The disciples were a good distance from shore when a storm developed. They had a problem. Naturally they were frightened. Life jackets, as we know them, were not available! Likewise nowhere in scripture can you find remarks about the disciples swimming abilities! Surely they must have been praying for assistance from the Almighty God. Are we not like the disciples in this moment? Most of us are burdened with problems that build up fears in our hearts. How frequent is a priest asked at a Saturday evening or Sunday Mass, "Father, can you pray for me."

As the disciples were dealing with their problems on the high seas, there seemed to be a ghost, as the evangelists described the event, walking nearby on the water. They could not see who it was because it was night, the waves were high and the sea water was being blown in the faces. For most of the disciples a second fear arose ... the ghost!

There seemed to be one disciple not trapped by either of the fears. He seemed to be able to distinguish who the figure was. "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." We know that Peter climbed over the side of the boat and began to walk to Jesus!

Doesn't this story portray what is on the minds of many who come to church on Sunday? Like Peter, they believe in Jesus' power to deliver them from the problem(s) that weigh upon them. Like Peter and the others in their hearts they are frightened by the circumstances of their problem(s). Like Peter, some seem to be able to overcome the fear of storminess and willingly follow the solution offered by Jesus, "Come to me." Others, like the other disciples, seem to be trapped by the solution offered to them by God. There is a "demon" ( the disciples' "ghost") within their hearts that just will not be quiet. Don't get out of the boat. You will drown. Are your crazy?

When burdened and fearful, we come to God. We pray for a solution. And, true to his word, God offers us a solution. Like his action with Peter: get out of the boat and come to me! Jesus may not tell you to abandon a boat but he may provide solutions that a threatening or uncomfortable. So often the solutions do require that we change. That should not be a surprise. Many times we changed to get to where we are when we realize our problem(s). We might hear ourselves praying, "Lord, help me. Take this addition away from me." Or "Lord, grant me the strength to overcome this bad habit." Yet when we make these petitions and others like them, if we are honest, we know, too, that there is a voice deep within that replies "But not right now! Isn't there an easier thing I can do?"

Surely God know how challenging life can be for us. He offers the true solution --- on that often frightens our free spirit. Yet, Jesus does not give up. "It is I. Do not be afraid."

So, Saturdays and Sundays is indeed a special day for all of us riding the waves of life. Sundays are 52 days each year when our Catholic Church, following the 10 Commandments, offers us the opportunity to come to know the solutions especially through the Holy Communion given us at the liturgy. In the moments of quiet following the time of you communion, you can hear Jesus speaking to you: "Come. Trust me. Do not be afraid. You will find peace."

This is why Saturdays and Sundays are so important!!!!!!!!!!!!!