July 1, 2008
Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; Therefore, I will punish you for all your crimes. Do two walk together unless they have agreed? Does a lion roar in the forest when it has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from its den unless it has seized something? Is a bird brought to earth by a snare when there is no lure for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground without catching anything? Amos 3:2-5
But I can enter your house because of your great love. I can worship in your holy temple because of my reverence for you, LORD. Guide me in your justice because of my foes; make straight your way before me. Psalm 5:8-9
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. Matthew 8:26
Be good to me.
The sea is so wide
And my boat is so small
– Breton Fisherman’s Prayer
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
How would you deal with betrayal? In reading Amos, the Lord is accusing his people, his chosen people, with nothing less than betraying the covenant. He favored us above all the “families of the earth.” Yet, rather than meet his love with our love, the Lord does nothing but witness our crimes and betrayal.
Some might see the first reading from Amos as the Lord calling for a “just punishment” for our transgressions. Yet there is only one just punishment that we get from God – forgiveness. Despite his threats, the Lord will go to the ends of the earth to take care of our enemies be they natural or man-made.
Jesus is not out to start a war with us or our enemies. Rather he is there to start a Great Calm. Despite our lack of faith, Jesus' is the history not of wars but of peace.
When have you experienced Great Calm?
We live in a society that thrives on the opposite…agitation, stress, nervousness, restlessness. Our society is the culture of the little boat that carries the disciples. We are being tossed around on the great sea just like they were. Yet we can not seek Great Calm from our Home Theatre in a Box. We can try but it won’t work. We will not get Great Calm from our I-Pod, Peapod, Izod, political candidates or Supreme Court. We will not get Great Calm from our Passat, our Camry or our Mini-Cooper. We will not get Great Calm from our double-breasted blue blazer, Chevy Blazer or the Portland Trail Blazers.
The sooner we realize the source of Great Calm, the better off we will be.
Seek great calm.
Pray to God.
According to the Villanova Nursing School Website, prayer is a means to reduce stress that our culture thrusts before us. Such prayer is any act that brings us closer to our Creator. “It can be considered lifting one’s mind and heart to God. Prayer can be vocal or silent, thoughts or words, or in songs and dances. It can be for requesting or asking for help or for adoration, contrition, or thanksgiving. Prayer is talking with God about the everyday things of human life, about our joys and sorrows, our needs and wants, our disappointments and pleasures.
Prayer – and how an individual prays – is often shaped by religious beliefs. But one does not have to belong to a specific religion to pray. Prayer does not need a special time or place, or a specific body position. Talking with God can be done anytime and anywhere. It can be done in a quiet time every morning before the rest of the family is awake, a thank you for a good day, for warmth of the sun, for love of friends who support and assist us even on our bad or difficult days.”
Villanova cites studies over the last 20 years that have shown that prayer or religious involvement is good for people’s health. Although it is not known what specific effect prayer has on health, prayer can help to relieve stress and bring about a more relaxed state of mind, a higher level of contentment, and an acceptance of those things we cannot change.
So the next time your boat is being swamped by the tidal waves of cultural stress, remember what the disciples said in their hour of need. “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”