WHY ARE YOU AFRAID?

Mt 8:23-27 (The Calming of the Storm at Sea)
4 July 2017, Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag

When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark…

I wonder if one can really sing this song in the midst of a storm, like the storm we heard in the gospel reading for today. Ang nakapagtataka, the disciples are actually sailors and fishermen, mga manlalayag, mga mangingisda, kaya bakit sila natakot sa ganitong pangyayari? Hindi ba pangkaraniwan lang dapat ito sa kanila dahil sanay na sila sa dagat? It must have been a very powerful storm na sila mismong mga sanay na sa dagat ay nayanig at natakot. Pansinin natin ang sinabi ng Ebanghelyo: “As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea…” Tila sunod-sunod ang mga pangyayaring iyon. Parang binibigyan ng Panginoon ng “preview” ang mga alagad tungkol sa magiging buhay nila: After following Him, violent storms will come up.

Habang nasa bangka, ang naging focus ng mga alagad ay yung mga nagyayari sa paligid nila: malakas na buhos ng ulan, malakas na hangin, malakas na alon, pinangunahan ng takot ang mga alagad because they are not in control anymore of what is happening. Hindi na nila alam ang gagawin. Nakalimutan nila na kasama nila si Hesus. They forgot that Jesus, the one in control, is in the boat with them. Kaya ang tanong ni Hesus sa kanila, “Why are you afraid?” “After all this time na magkakasama tayo, you still have little faith. You are afraid because you are not in control. Hindi ninyo hawak ang ulan, ang hangin, ang alon. But I’m the one in control, remember? Nakalimutan ninyo yatang nandito ako. Hindi kayo nag-iisa, I’m here in the boat with you.” These are the words of Jesus to his disciples: “Yes, there is a storm but do not be afraid. You’re not alone. We will face the storm together.”

Do not be afraid. Maraming pagkakataon nating nababasa iyan sa Banal na Kasulatan. Katunayan, iyan din ang sinabi ni Arkanghel Gabriel kay Maria: Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God. Parang ito rin ang naging motto namin when we were novices here ten years ago. Sabi nga ng isa naming kasama, ang initials ng novitate house na DNA ay nangangahulugan daw ngDo Not (be) Afraid. Sa loob ng labingtatlong taon ko sa seminary, there were also times I asked and even doubted if I would be able to make it to the other side. Nag-iisip din ako kung paano ko maitatawid ang bawat araw patungo sa susunod, kung paano makakalagpas sa mga itinuturing kong bagyo at unos. Pero naroon ang paalala ni Hesus: those who want to follow Him should not be afraid of the storm. It’s not that God will give us a life full of comfort. It’s not God will not give us storms in life. Sometimes, God just calms the storms. Sometimes, God calms the sailor. And sometimes, God teaches us how to swim.

Sa pagninilay natin sa Magandang Balita, tanungin natin ang ating sarili, tayo ba, ano yung mga pagkakataon sa buhay natin na dumaan tayo sa unos? Did we see Jesus on the boat with us o baka tulad ng mga alagad, tayo rin ay nadala ng mga pangyayari sa paligid natin? Sa lahat ng ito, God’s loving assurance is there: Do not be afraid. You are not alone. I am here on the boat with you. And so urges us to:

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

Yes, one can sing this song and face any storm because Jesus tells us, “You’ll never walk alone.”

By Br. Felix F. delos Reyes Jr., OP

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