Today Anne O’Brien, Deputy CEO (Mission People and Culture), reads from the Gospel of Matthew (8: 23-27) in which the disciples, after Jesus calms the storm, ask “Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.”

Anne says today’s Gospel tells the story of a time of shock and surprise in the lives of the disciples. They had only experienced Jesus as a teacher and healer but had not actually been witness to his power and authority over the elements.

Let’s consider what this situation told the disciples about Jesus.

As Jews, they would have been familiar with the story of Jonah and God’s will being carried out in Jonah’s mission to the Ninevites. When the reluctant prophet tried to run away from God’s purpose for him, the ship he was escaping on was struck by a storm, and the sailors threw Jonah into the sea. God sent a “great fish” to save him. Similarly, God’s power was manifested in the calming of the storm.

In the Gospel today, Jesus’ calming of the storm forced the disciples to ask questions about Jesus and who he was. Clearly, he was more than a healer and teacher.

This Gospel probably brings up some questions for us.

Do we allow ourselves to be fully open to the mystery of who Jesus is?

Does he surprise us and lead us to a deeper awareness of his power and authority over our lives?

Do we trust in his love for us? Do we share the power of his love and what he gives to us with others?

Knowing all he does for us in our lives and helping us in times of trouble, are we spreading God’s kingdom with the boldness that might lead people to ask who is this God that you worship?

So, are we being intentional disciples?

During this time of Pastoral Renewal, we are called to be intentional disciples.

Anne says let’s take a minute to reflect on how we have taken that call on board… are we sharing with others what we experience and the gift we have been given?

In closing Anne invites us to pray:

God, our heavenly Father, give us the grace to be always open to your infinite mystery. Help us to rejoice in the way you can surprise us and lead us to trust you in the storms of our lives, and to be brave enough and intentional enough to share all you have given to us with others. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.