Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Genesis 19:15-29
Gospel Matthew 8:23-27

“‘What sort of man is this...?’”

Today’s Gospel passage offers another example of the disciples not seeing the forest for the trees. Their question at the end of the passage is sincere and understandable, not rhetorical: “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” They admit their ignorance of the deeper identity of Jesus. They do know that he is more than just a fisherman or carpenter. They do know that he has miraculous powers. But what exactly do His powers tell us about who he is?

All told, today’s Gospel passage is just a snapshot. There’s no way to perceive from this single event that this man is the divine Word made flesh, much less that He will die on a cross for the salvation of all mankind. You and I, of course, know the rest of the story, but these disciples do not, and are understandably perplexed. But where does that leave our reflection on this passage?

Perhaps we can relate to these disciples in this specific instance by attending to the dialogue between the disciples and Jesus in the middle of the passage. In our own lives, we also cry, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” The difference is that these disciples faced mortal danger, while we often face concerns that are much less significant, and are often of our own manufacture.

Nevertheless, what we and these disciples have in common is the same gracious Lord Jesus. To each of us, no matter what our supposed dangers and no matter their origins, He responds by offering the “great calm” that is ours through faith.