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Jesus is Always With Us

Monday February 7, 2022

Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

by Fr. David M. Knight

After the multiplication of the loaves, the disciples are caught in a storm, see Jesus walking on the sea, cry out to him and he saves them. Right after that, when they came to land and “got out of the boat” people at once recognized Jesus. And he healed them. We see here that recognizing Jesus seems to be a key to getting help from him. The first time Jesus calmed the sea (4:35-41) he was in the boat with his disciples but asleep, apparently unaware of their problem and doing nothing about it. When they finally recognized that they needed to involve him and woke him up, he said, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” If they had really recognized him, they would have known he could help them just as much asleep as awake! In that story too, when Jesus “stepped out of the boat,” he was immediately recognized: this time by the demon in a possessed man. Jesus cast out the demon (5: 2,7,15). In the first storm story, the disciples thought Jesus was inactive because he was asleep. Before that he had just explained that “the kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep… and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how” (4:26-27). Even when God seems inactive, the Kingdom is being established. In today’s storm story, the disciples think Jesus is absent. But he had just multiplied the loaves as a preview of Eucharist. The story ends, “They were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves.” They should have known: Jesus is always “in the boat,” present in the Church in Eucharist to give us peace. We need to recognize him there.

In both stories the disciples recognize Jesus first, if belatedly, and then he is recognized by others. If we are going to “step out of the boat” and evangelize others, we ourselves have to first recognize what we have in the boat. Jesus is always present in the Church, always active. If we recognize that, we can help others recognize him and be healed. But we have to make it evident that we recognize him first. Is it really so difficult to be always conscious of Jesus present with us and within us? Use the WIT prayer!

Initiative: Read The Practice of the Presence of God, by the Carmelite “Brother Lawrence,” who died in 1691 in Paris. (Critical edition: ICS Publications, 1994).

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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