Dear friend on the journey,
During this global pandemic of Covid-19, I heard repeatedly, “At least we’re all in the same boat.” A more accurate rebuttal is, “We are in the same storm, not the same boat.” Everyone’s experience of the lockdown is varied, not necessarily better or worse, just different. My fears of the virus are not the same as my dear friend, a cancer survivor living with type 1 diabetes. An ICU nurse’s experience of the pandemic is not the same as the corporate executive working at home. Same storm, different boats.
In today’s gospel, a storm is overwhelming the boat carrying the disciples across the Sea of Galilee. In the darkest of night, the wind and rain are churning the waves, violently tossing the boat and its passengers. Seeing this from afar, Jesus knows very well how the apostles are feeling. Fear and despair are consuming them. They desperately want safety and comfort. Jesus walks out on the water to meet them in the middle of the stormy sea to encourage them not to be afraid; he is there for them. This gospel offers two messages. In our personal storms, Jesus knows our fears and anxiety and comes to us, offering courage and a refuge of love and grace. The other message is how to act like Jesus by becoming more aware of another’s fears and needs. His actions in this gospel are an example and invitation to us to be his hands, feet and a refuge for family, friends and neighbors in their stormy times.
In the midst of this pandemic storm, there still exists the storms of illness, hunger, poverty, homelessness, addictions, abuse, grief, and right now the storm of racism has intensified. Each storm churns up fear, worry, concern, pain and suffering. If the storm affects one, it affects all because we are all children of God, equally made in God’s image, equally loved by God. Jesus gave us two commands: love God and love each other. They are not mutually exclusive; they are one in the same.
In the storm of racism, as Christian disciples we can no longer be idle and say “it’s not my problem.” Racism in all its forms is a life issue and we are called to respond, not react, no matter the discomfort. This is a big issue so how do we start? A place to begin is by simply learning. Educating ourselves about the issue involves prayer, reading, researching, and listening. Only then can we act with confidence. Remember the boats are different so listening to another’s story is key. Stories can soften hearts, provide deeper insight and generate compassion.
I invite you Tuesday via Zoom to listen to personal stories, really listen with open hearts and minds to the stories of three parishioners, three mothers who parent their children of color with unique challenges, concerns, fears. Page two of today’s bulletin has details or visit our website www.padreserra.org/news/our-truths. Upon registration you will receive an email with the Zoom login.