April 18, 2015
Saturday, 2nd Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 6:1–7
Gospel: Jn 6:16–21
When evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing. They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and he was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them, “It is Me; don’t be afraid.” They wanted to take him into the boat, but immediately the boat was at the shore to which they were going.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A story is told of an ugly girl who gave her picture to her boyfriend before leaving for work abroad. At the back of her ugly picture she wrote: “Do not be afraid, it is I –John 6:20”. It was her unique way of telling her boyfriend to look beyond externals to temper the terrific impact of her looks. This story invites us to look into the roots of our fears which are mostly external. Those who are not capable of breaking through externals live in fear.
This was also the reason why the disciples were scared one evening. They were so focused on the darkness, on the waves and on the fact that they were left to themselves. When Jesus told the disciples that it was he, he was inviting them to look beyond what they saw. Focusing on what they saw only increased their fears as Jesus appeared to them like he was a ghost walking over turbulent waters.
The invitation to shift from externals was formulated in very powerful words that revealed the true nature of Jesus as God. The assuring words “Do not be afraid, it is I” took the listeners of Jesus to the reply Moses got when he asked God at Mt. Sinai what his name was. The reply was: “I am who am”. Thus when Jesus said “Do not be afraid, it is I”, he was making another Epiphany. He revealed who he really was by identifying himself with God.
The Gospel reading makes an abrupt ending with the instantaneous crossing of the sea whereby the disciples suddenly found themselves at the shore to which they were going. This takes the readers again to the Old Testament episode where Moses led his people in crossing the Red Sea on their escape from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land. From slavery of fear to freedom in faith the disciples were led. Behold how powerful God is!
Are we paralyzed by fears of the external? Let us hear Jesus with his assuring words: “Do not be afraid, it is I”. The invitation carries his assurance of liberation that just as the disciples were instantaneously ‘transported’ to safer shores, so he will lead us to safer grounds away from danger. But his voice is faint. If we are fixated on externals, there is no chance we hear this faint invitation. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, dispose us to pray without ceasing; remove the fears in our hearts and assure us of your abiding presence through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, Widow. She was a mother of six children, and later became a Carmelite nun. She was born in Paris on February 1, 1565. Three of her children became Carmelite nuns and one became a priest. Having raised all her children, she joined the Carmelites after her husband’s death. She died at the age of 53 on April 18, 1618 and was beatified in 1791.