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Pius Parsch and Prosper Gueranger on Epiphany 4 – Matthew 8:23-27

by pastorjuhl ~ January 24th, 2011

The Gospel story represents Christ’s Easter combat and triumph. For every Sunday is Easter, is resurrection. Every Sunday we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection in ourselves. Throughout the week we may be tossed by storms and billowing seas, but at the Sunday Mass Christ again steps into our small boat, silences the storm, and continues within us to perfect His resurrection victory.
The Christian life, we have said, resembles a voyage through turbulent waters. Often we may feel that the good God treats us, His children, too severely. There is no denying that God does not conduct Himself like those foolish mothers, who, through misguided love, pamper and spoil their children. God’s dealing with us is in conformity with a principle oft-repeated in the Books of Wisdom: He that loves his child spares not the rod. God’s conduct, then, is to our benefit.

Look back over the centuries. How gloriously the Church shines forth in those early centuries of persecution! Christians were then held in contempt; they were molested and hunted like beasts; but they were more heroic, more holy. In the Middle Ages the Church’s outward circumstances were just the reverse; she enjoyed high prestige, great external splendor, was liberally endowed by emperor after emperor. But inwardly there was decline; her inner light and luster waned. Yes, it is good for us when social and political conditions are unfavorable.

Of course, to profit from such circumstances we need what Jesus demanded of His disciples, strong faith and holy confidence. “Why have you so little faith?” Great suffering, great affliction, great need – these things can work both ways; they may be a healing medicine or a deadening drug. The sufferings and privations that abound in modern society have brought many to God. At the same time the poverty and destitution in underprivileged areas act like an opiate on countless souls. Therefore, pray, my brothers, pray for those who are sorely tried. Pray that their needs and privations may occasion grace and healing.

Let us adore the power of our Emmanuel, who is come to calm the tempest which threatened the human race with death. In the midst of their danger, the successive generation of men had cried out: Lord! save us; we perish. When the fulness of time had come, he awoke from his rest; he had but to command, and the power of our enemies was destroyed. The malice of the devils, the darkness of idolatry, the corruption of paganism – all yielded. Nation after nation was converted to Jesus. they had said, when in their misery and blindness: “Who is this Jesus, whom no power can resist?” and then they embraced his Law. This power of Jesus to break down every obstacle, and that, too, at the very time when men were disquieted at his apparent slumbering, has often shown itself in the past ages of the Church. How many times has he not chosen for saving the world that period which seemed the least likely for rescue! The same happens in the life of each one among us. Oftentimes we are tossed to and fro by violent temptations; it would seem as though the billows must sink us; and yet our will is firmly anchored to God! And what is all this, if not Jesus sleeping in the storm-tossed boat, protecting us by this his sleeping? And if our cry for help at length awaken him, it is only to proclaim his own and our victory; for he has already conquered, and we have conquered in him.

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