Let the Lord Steer our Ship!

Do you know how that truth became real to J C Penny, the founder of the retail chain that bears his name? In his autobiography, Fifty Years with the Golden Rule, Penny talks about being in a clinic one night when he thought he was dying. He wrote several letters and went to bed, fairly certain that he would not be alive the following morning. But he was still alive when morning came.  So he got up and started to walk down the hall. Then he heard people singing: "Be not dismayed whate'er betide. God will take care of you."

A few people were having an early morning prayer meeting, and he slipped in and sat down in the back. Someone read a passage from the Bible, and led a prayer. Before long, Penny began a spontaneous prayer. He prayed, "Lord, I can do nothing. Will you take care of me?" In the next few moments something did indeed happen to him. In his own words, "It was a miracle." What happened was that J C Penny had met the One who can calm life's storms.

ShipIn the Gospel we read, “A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat” while Jesus and the disciples were in the boat. Artists have used the image of the boat to symbolize the Church. Since the parish and individual families within the parish are the Church in miniature, the boat is also an apt symbol to represent us. Many times storms toss us around like tiny corks on the ocean, causing us to cry out in fear: "Lord do you not care? Doesn't it matter to you that we are going down?  We feel that our boat is at breaking point and that we're going under.”

Is Christ asleep?  We might often be tempted to think so when we sit by, helplessly watching the sufferings of a loved one, or in the face of personal tragedy, or in times of depression or natural disaster.  In such moments we instinctively turn to God and yet sometimes we don’t find him or he seems far away, apparently busy with other matters.  But in our Gospel passage today, Jesus does calm the storm. And that’s just it.  Jesus does calm the storm, not all storms forever, but each storm individually at the right moment, just when calming is needed.

If we have faith in the Lord's power to control these seemingly uncontrollable forces in our lives, we can ride the storm and reach the farther shore. Who control's our destiny? The Lord does, if only we let him steady our hands and steer our ship.



In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church