GOD’S PROTECTIVE HAND IN TIMES OF DANGER AND TURMOIL
First Reading: Genesis 19:15-29
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 25(26):2-3,9-12
Gospel Reading: Matthew 8:23-27
During my experience in the thick Amazonian settlement of Maranhao, Brazil, in the month of September 2021, an unforeseen incident took place that almost claimed my life if not for divine intervention. I recall how I hastily took my Mass box and embarked on a journey towards one of the remote communities as evening approached, almost reaching 7 pm. Traversing a narrow lane through the dense foliage, fate dealt a cruel blow when the vehicle I drove abruptly encountered a treacherous pothole, resulting in a deflated front left tire and a subsequent loss of steering control. The car careened violently through the brush, spinning uncontrollably. I thought I was going to die, and I called on our Lord Jesus to save me. The car rotated violently until it collided with a small pole, preventing a perilous descent into the deep valley on the left side. That was the last thing I could remember, then I felt what seemed like a tap and woke up, causing me to lift my head from the steering wheel and I stared at the dazed parish boy sitting beside me. Remarkably, we emerged physically unscathed, although I was left with a lingering headache and an indelible sense of trauma. This story serves as a powerful reminder, personally, that our God is always watching over us, ready to extend His protective arm in times of distress whenever we call upon Him. It echoes the message conveyed in our readings today, particularly the account of Lot and his family in the book of Genesis and in the account of Jesus’ calming of the storm as Matthew presents to us today.
In the First Reading from the book of Genesis (19:15-29), we encounter the dramatic account of Lot and his family escaping the sinful city of Sodom just before its destruction. As they hurriedly left the city, the Lord’s angels warned them not to look back, emphasizing the urgency and seriousness of their escape. This cautionary tale reveals the significance of obedience and trust in God’s guidance, even when faced with imminent danger. And indeed, God’s hand of protection was evident as fire and brimstone rained down upon the wicked city, sparing Lot and his family from its destruction.
The responsorial psalm echoes the sentiment of unwavering trust and reliance on the Lord. We hear the psalmist proclaim, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 25:2-3). This declaration invites us to reflect on our own lives and consider the times when God’s protective hand shielded us from harm. It encourages us to cultivate a firm faith, seeking refuge in the Lord amidst the storms and trials of life.
Turning our gaze to the Gospel reading (Matthew 8:23-27), we encounter another profound manifestation of God’s power to deliver and protect. Jesus and His disciples embarked on a boat journey across the Sea of Galilee when a furious storm arose, threatening their lives. The disciples, overwhelmed by fear, woke Jesus, who was peacefully sleeping and cried out for His help. With a few simple words, Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves, and immediately there was a great calm. Astonished, the disciples marveled at the power and authority of Jesus, recognizing Him as the One who has control even over the forces of nature. He turned to His disciples and asked, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” This question resonates deeply within our hearts, challenging us to examine our own faith in the face of adversity.
These passages from Scripture reveal to us the awe-inspiring power of our God to deliver and protect His people amidst danger. They teach us valuable lessons about faith, trust, and the unwavering love of our Heavenly Father. Just as He saved Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom, just as He guided and protected King David, just as He calmed the storm for His disciples, and just as he saved me from a fatal accident when I called upon Him, so too does our God offer His unfailing protection to us today.
Dear friends in Christ, in our own lives, we may face various forms of danger and turmoil. It could be a physical threat, a difficult circumstance, or a spiritual battle. We may feel overwhelmed and powerless in the face of these challenges. However, the message of these readings is clear: we are not alone, and we have a God who is mighty to save. He is our refuge and fortress, a stronghold in times of trouble. When we encounter danger or uncertainty, let us follow the example of Lot, who heeded the Lord’s warning and fled from sin. Let us echo the words of King David (the Psalmist), confidently placing our trust in the Lord’s protection and guidance. And let us remember the disciples’ experience with Jesus, acknowledging His authority over all creation and seeking His calming presence amidst life’s storms.
As we gather around the Eucharistic table today, let us remember the countless instances in our own lives when God’s protecting hand shielded us from harm. Let us surrender our fears and doubts, placing our complete trust in the One who holds the power to calm the storms that rage within and around us. May our faith be strengthened, and may we be emboldened to share our stories of God’s deliverance and protection with others, spreading the message of His love and mercy. Let us cultivate a deep and abiding trust in His providence, knowing that He watches over us with a love that surpasses all understanding. In times of danger, let us turn to Him with humble hearts, seeking His deliverance and finding peace in His loving embrace. May the Lord, who is mighty to save, be our constant source of hope and assurance. May He grant us the courage to face any danger that may come our way, knowing that He is always with us, guiding us through the storms of life. Trust in His power, seek His protection, and experience the profound peace that comes from surrendering to His loving care.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
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