Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas
2 Samuel 12:1-7a, 10-17
"Who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?"
Getting to know Jesus is one of our primary tasks as a Christian. Just when you think you know who He is – you read a verse from scripture or meet someone who has a differing vision of Christianity or you encounter an unexpected challenge in life or you experience a miracle in your life – and you again wonder who is this Jesus?
In the Gospel, Jesus’ disciples were perplexed when they saw Jesus quiet the storm. But didn’t they know? These followers who recognized him as their leader and the worker of many miracles – of all his followers over the centuries, surely these first disciples shouldn’t have been surprised at Jesus’ power. Is it any wonder that Jesus addresses them by saying, "Do you not yet have faith?"
We know that Jesus is talking to us too when he utters these words. Why is our faith not stronger? Why do we still ask who is this Jesus? I think a big part of the answer is because we don’t stop often enough to listen. The disciples were nodding their heads and saying – yes, yes, this is the Messiah – but they didn’t seem to hear his words. That’s what we sometimes do. "Yes, yes, we believe – Jesus is our Savior!" But do we really stop and listen? Do we ponder scripture, do we find time to sit in silence, do we quietly open our hearts to transformation?
Another primary work of being a Christian is to teach and share this knowledge of Jesus with others. We do this by living Christian lives – caring for others, telling those around us why we make the choices that we make, and by reading and discussing Christ with others.
Today is also the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas – the great Dominican theologian. At the end of St. Thomas’ life, he is reported to have said, "Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught." St Thomas spent his life on the primary works of a Christian – getting to know Jesus and sharing that knowledge with others. As Christians, may our lives be focused on getting to know Jesus and living lives that share that knowledge.
Mary Lou Butler is a long-time friend and partner in ministry to the Passionists in California.