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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon


15th February 2004

Fr David Shepherd

Sexagesima

When we talking about our human condition we often say that we 'are in the same boat' or 'all at sea'. Such expressions reflect our seafaring tradition as an island race. Such phrases apply to the disciples in today's gospel. The disciples were all in the same boat with Jesus and all at sea in a storm.

This passage is often suggested for prayerful reflection, because it connects with our innermost experiences and needs. This is common to all human beings as heirs of Adam and Eve our archetypal parents whose creation and longings are described in today's OT reading from Genesis.

Such a voyage across Galilee was commonplace for Jesus and the disciples. Some of the disciples regularly took to the lake as fishermen. All would have accompanied Jesus as they shared in his ministry or sought recreation with him away from the crowds. Small boats were used for both work and escape.

Luke places this voyage between an account of Jesus' teaching and his performing of a demanding exorcism. The voyage across the lake enabled Jesus to recharge. He soon fell asleep.

Sudden gales are very much a feature of the Sea of Galilee. Small boats were easily wrecked, just like Swallow on Lake Conniston, in Arthur Ransome's Swallowdale. Soon the disciples' boat was taking water and they were in danger of sinking. In terror they woke Jesus up, 'Master, Master, we are perishing.'

Jesus, we are told rebuked wind and waves. 'They ceased and there was a calm'. The disciples were amazed and afraid, questioning the identity of one who had such authority.

So much for the outline of the gospel story of the stilling of the storm, how can we apply it to our lives? Here are two suggestions, one corporate the other personal.

Before we turn to our prayers of intercession for healing and receive the sacrament of anointing I suggest we spend a few moments letting our imaginations wander, with Jesus in the boat, all at sea, prayerfully seeking his calm in the storms of life.

Amen

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Last updated 15/02/04 09:00:00 Author: Fr David Shepherd