Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO
10th Friday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19: 9a, 11-16;
Matthew 5: 27-32
The vision recounted in today’s first reading, is awe inspiring to say the least: a howling wind, a tremendous earthquake and a raging fire. These phenomena bring to mind previous manifestations of God’s presence on Mount Horeb. When God visited His people, loud thunder and fierce flashes of lightning filled the sky and fire prepared His path. A trembling shook the ground and filled the people fear and terror. God is not a play thing or a toy. He is the creator and master of the universe. Recall the words penned by the psalmist: “The heavens declare the grandeur of God and the firmament declares the work of His hands” (Ps. 19:1). All these manifestations demand that we acknowledge God’s power and majesty. Because of His greatness we have reason to hope, even in the face of severe trials. At the presence of the Lord, all of creation trembles. But the people He has called into His presence have nothing to fear because He is their Rock, their redeemer. No matter what threats we must face, the Lord of Hosts is with us.
Over the tumult, one can imagine hearing the voice of the redeemer: “Calm down and don’t be afraid. It’s me” (Mat. 14:27). When we encounter storms while responding to the call of the Lord, He manifests Himself and clothes us in His abiding grace. Our confidence rests in the belief that Christ is near to guard and protect us. We are allowed to face our own weaknesses so that we would learn to depend on Christ’s redeeming power. It is when we call out to Him for help that He stretches out His powerful right arm to save us. Recall the words taken from the Gospel of Mark: “Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Hush! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind lulled and there was a great calm” (Mk.4:39). Even on stormy days, when we seem to be tossed about in every direction, the Lord is present to be our peace and rock of refuge.
In the lull, there is a hush and a gentle breeze carries the words: “Rise up, my love, my beautiful one! Come away with me. The winter is past, the storms are over and gone” (Song 2:10-11). The voice of God’s Love Incarnate has the power to take possession of our hearts. The object of our life’s journey calls us to himself. We are invited to come away from the tumult of the world and enter into fellowship with Christ and to live the freedom of the Children of God. When the Beloved Son comes to us in those gentle and still passages of life, may we go out and stand before Him.