Do You Not Care?
The apostles were terrified and woke up the “sleeping Jesus” with their cry, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” Quiet! Be still! Three simple commands from Jesus and the storm is calmed! The squalls, the waves, the boat beginning to take on water were all reasons to be terrified. These images also remind us of the times that we experience the “storms of life.” Fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus, the loss of so many lives (friends and family), the loss of the “normal” ways of doing things—shopping, schooling, churching, exercising, parenting, political differences, hate crimes, shootings, the murder of George Floyd, cyber-attacks, the February freeze and loss of power, our longing to touch and hug—all the squalls and waves that left us out of control. Was Jesus sleeping? Did we cry out with our fears? Did we think of ourselves as all being in the same boat? Jesus calms the physical storm on the water. Can those same words heal us today? Can we heal each other? Before the healing, we must admit that things are not right. We must name the sources of our fear. Cries of anguish, of loss, of feelings of defeat—like those found in half of the Psalms—all ask “Do you not care that we are…………..(fill in the blank)? In these storms of life, we are re-discovering the Catholic practice of lament!
We can move from fear to faith, even if it flounders! We can intentionally and consistently WORK to make things right. We have been fearful and uncomfortable. We are the ones who were asleep! Our new awakenings impel us to ACT with each other. Pope Francis keeps reminding us of just that!
Because of the coronavirus, Pope Francis gave his extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) in an empty St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 27, 2020. He said:
Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat … are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “we are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.