GENESIS 19: 15 – 29
In those days: The angels urged Lot, saying,”Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of Sodom.” But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And when they had brought them forth, they said, “flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; behold, your servant has found favour in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me, and I die. Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there- is it not little one? – and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favour also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Make haste, escape there; for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; and he looked down towards Sodom and Gomorrah and towards all the land the valley, and beheld, and behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace. So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrow the cities in which Lot dwelt.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 26: 2 – 3, 9 – 10, 11 – 12 (R.) 3a
R/. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Examine me, Lord, and try me.
O test my heart and my mind.
Your mercy is before my eyes,
And I walk according to your truth. R/.
Do not sweep away my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with those who shed blood,
In whose hands are evil plots,
Whose right hands are filled with a bribe. R/.
As for me, I have walked in my integrity.
Redeem me and have mercy on me.
My foot stands on level ground:
I will bless the Lord in the assembly. R/.
Psalm 130: 5
I wait for the Lord, in his word I hope.
“He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
MATTHEW 8: 23 – 27
At that time: when Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Save Us Lord!
July 4, 2023
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. (Matthew 8:23–24)
This experience had quite an impression upon the disciples, which is evidenced by the fact that it is recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels. We also see this in the concluding words of the story after Jesus calmed the storm: “The men were amazed and said, ‘What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?’”
Traditionally, this story has been interpreted as both an image of the Church as a whole, as well as the individual soul. The boat is an image of the Church through which we Christians navigate the perils of this life. We must remain in the Church to survive. Each person within the boat represents each one of us who is a member of the Church. The violent storm is an image of the many personal struggles we endure in life, as well as the persecutions that the Church has endured and will continue to endure until the end of time.
As the storm took hold of the boat, Jesus was asleep. But He was asleep for a reason. As we look at human history, especially the history of the Church, we find many times when God has seemed absent or “asleep” when turmoil, persecution, and hardship have arisen. Many people, if not all, have had the same experience at one time or another in life. As the disciples experience this storm, they offer us an ideal way to pray when we are tempted to despair in life. They wake Jesus and say, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And though Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith and their fear, He also responds to their pleas and calms the storm.
What should the disciples have done in this case? Should they have trusted and allowed Jesus to remain asleep? Though our Lord did rebuke them for lacking faith, this story is primarily a revelation about God’s mercy when we are tempted to fear. God knows that at times we will all feel overwhelmed and find ourselves tempted in this way. He knows our faith is not perfect, and so He allowed His disciples to set this example for us. Thus, whenever we do find ourselves overwhelmed and fearful in life, we should cry out to Him to save us. He wants us to turn to Him.
Reflect, today, upon this prayer of the disciples. If you find that you are facing some personal crisis, or a larger family difficulty that remains unresolved, or are increasingly aware of other struggles afflicting the Church or society as a whole, then try to imitate this prayer of the disciples: “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Though these words, at first, may seem to be words of despair, they are actually words of hope and trust. They point us to Him Who is the only source of the peace we seek in our souls, families, the Church and our world. Look for the many ways that you and others experience the feeling of “perishing,” and cry out with all your heart to our Lord to save you and all who are in need.
Most powerful Lord, I am amazed at Your divine power and ability to perfectly calm the storms that afflict Your people. Please fill me with hope and humility so that I will never hesitate to turn to You in my need and to also cry out to You for Your continuous intervention in the lives of others. Awake, oh Lord, and save Your people, for we will truly perish without You! Jesus, I trust in You.