THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
29 January 2017
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What is related to us in today's Gospel is meant to do more than relay a historical episode in the life of Jesus Christ and the Church. Our Holy Mother the Church recounts this Gospel for us today, so that we may be further instructed or inspired in the path of our own spiritual lives.
The disciples of Jesus have seen His works on land, and the people followed Him eagerly because of the miracles that He performed. In a test of their faith and for an instruction to us, Jesus takes them out over water and raises up the wind and waves while He sleeps. The disciples wake Him begging His assistance in this storm. After rebuking their lack of faith, Jesus calms the wind and waters. In this manner, He teaches them and us that God does not sleep, and reaffirms that He is always in control. Nothing happens without God knowing and allowing it to happen.
Throughout the history of the Church we see that it often appeared that Jesus was asleep as the Church suffered through one crises or another. There have been attacks from without and from within. Sadly, it is true that Her greatest enemies were those of Her own household. The external attacks often brought Catholics together to fight against and resist the assaults against Her. The attacks from within proved to be divisive as well as destructive. The Protestant assault began from priests and religious who raised their hands against their own spiritual Mother. These heretics carried away a good many souls with them. It may be, that it was necessary for the Church to be purged or pruned of such useless or unproductive branches in this way.
In our own days, we seem to have accumulated all the evils of the past together. The Church still suffers the assault from without; Pagans, Jews, and Heretics; as well as from within as so many ungrateful and unprofitable children continue to rise up against Her. In addition to all this, we have the long standing vacancy of the Chair of St. Peter. When the Vicar of Christ the Good Shepherd's earthly representative has been struck the flock is scattered. The Church continues the ship of St. Peter remains afloat in the storms that are raging against Her in these days but it often appears that God is asleep.
In these troubled days, the Church has grown very small, and of the few that remain, many of these are shaken to the core, and abandon ship. Only a small remnant remain with the faith, and these are tried more sorely day by day. Today, more than ever, we must dig deep into our souls stirring up complete faith in Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church. The ship appears desolate, but there is always at least one true successor to the Apostles at the helm, and with these we must hold fast. Yes, priests and bishops are human and weak, just as we are, but one and all are striving to say with St. Paul, "I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me."
God has not only foreseen, but He has even willed that we suffer through these trials. He knows that in the end there will be very little true faith left, and that charity will have grown cold. His grace is still with us; He offers us continuously in this life the opportunity to truly love Him. Jesus only appears to be asleep. He knows all that is going on, and He will give us each and every one the grace we need to stand steadfast. All we need to do is cooperate with Him.
We may, with the disciples, call out to Him in our darkest hours: "Lord saves us lest we perish!" In those times with the rebuke of shallow faith, He often offers us a glimpse of Himself and gives us the strength to carry on in the true Church.
In the True Catholic Church, there is the continuance of the offering of the Sacrifice of Calvary (in the Mass) and this Sacrifice will continue to the end. It is in this Sacrifice that Jesus comes to us and physically resides in our presence. He only appears to be asleep in the Holy Eucharist. The True Faith tells us that it is not a dead Christ that we offer, worship and adore, but is the Living God All Powerful. When we receive Him worthily in this Sacrament we place ourselves aboard the ship in which He lives (the ship of the true Catholic Church). In these last days, it may appear humble and small, and in much disrepair, just as the stable of Bethlehem; however, with the presence of Jesus, all that is unworthy is made worthy, all that is weak is made strong, all that is wrong is made right.
It is His wish that we often worthily receive Him in the Holy Eucharist and keep alive in our souls the true Faith. In this way, we can see beyond the present threats and storms to a perfectly peaceful and joyful eternity.
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