In today’s gospel, the apostles were in a boat when a storm kicked up on the lake. They were terrified. They woke up Jesus and he calmed the storm. The apostles were at peace.
Actually, Jesus calmed two storms. There was the outer storm in nature, and the inner storm of fear and anxiety in the apostles.
There is no doubt that we are living in stormy times. One of those storms is the outer storm of brutality against others because of the color of their skin. Another storm is the inner storm of anxiety of those who fear they will be the next victim. And there is a third storm, the inner storm that is the raging prejudice in some human hearts.
As for the first storm, we feel helpless. It has been raging since the beginning of time. It will take a major miracle to put it to rest. Maybe the Last Judgment.
As for the second storm we can do something. We can make laws and enforce laws that call for equality and justice. Some progress has been made here. This will help calm the storm of anxiety in those who fear for their lives.
As for the third storm, we need to make sure there is no prejudice in our hearts.
Prejudice is the result of ignorance. Ignorance is dispelled by listening, listening that involves walking a mile in another’s shoes. Listening leads to understanding. Understanding leads to compassion. And compassion leads to peace.
Inner peace comes to us when Christ is the center of our lives. When our boat starts rocking, let us cling to him, trust him and love him.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/