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Tuesday, July 1, 2003

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Bl. Junipero Serra

Genesis 19:15-29
Psalm 26
Matthew 8:23-27

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waking up to faith

"The boat began to be swamped by the waves. Jesus was sleeping soundly." —Matthew 8:24

Over the centuries, Church fathers and Scripture scholars have seen the gospel boat as a representation of the Church. On occasion, the boat is rocked by violent storms, which threaten imminent destruction. Through it all, Jesus is constantly present to the Church, even when He seems to be sleeping (Mt 8:24).

As this is being written, the Catholic Church in the United States is being "swamped" (Mt 8:24) by the storm of scandal. Some pundits even speculate that "we are lost" as a Church (Mt 8:25). To this, Jesus would reply: "How little faith you have!" (Mt 8:26) As horrible as scandal is, as tragic as the devastation is to a victim, as burdensome as the taint of scandal is to innocent clergy and religious, Jesus maintains that the issue is essentially the same as it was that night in the boat. The disciples naturally saw the problem as the imminent danger of the storm. However, Jesus, upon waking, instantly put His finger on the crisis of faith. How many of us think of faith when we first wake up? Jesus does!

Faith in Jesus is the answer. "All depends on faith" (Rm 4:16). Jesus is an innocent Victim. In the blood of His cross, He has the answer for victims (Col 1:20). By His wounds, victims are healed (1 Pt 2:24). Jesus died the death of a condemned, scandalized criminal and bore our guilt. He understands and even removes guilt (Mi 7:18) for the repentant guilty. For the innocent clergy who are regarded with suspicion, Jesus shows the way by maintaining His dignity even when wrongly portrayed as a "sinner" (Jn 9:24). Jesus reconciles all things in Himself (Col 1:20). Jesus commands us: Have "faith in Me" (Jn 14:1).

Prayer:  Lord, "increase our faith" (Lk 17:5).

Promise:  "He stood up and took the winds and the sea to task. Complete calm ensued." —Mt 8:26

Praise:  Bl. Junipero reacted to being expelled from Mexico by immediately becoming a missionary to California.

Reference:  (This teaching was written by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 29, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 31, 2002