“It was a dark and story night” is widely understood to be a terrible beginning to a novel! However, a dark and stormy night proved to be a perfect time for Jesus to reveal something of himself to his friends.
After sunset, as today’s gospel recalls, the disciples were straining to row their boat in the face of powerful winds. Seeing their struggle, Jesus came to them, walking on water. Not only did this demonstrate Jesus’ power over nature. It also suggested his power over death- which water represented in the Jewish imagination.
As he approached them, the Lord assured his friends by saying, “I am Jesus.” Simple words- but rich with meaning. “I AM” is God’s own name as spoken to Moses at the burning bush; “Jesus,” in Hebrew, means “God saves.” Jesus concluded with an invitation: “Do not be afraid.”
What Jesus communicated to his disciples that night, he also says to us: “There’s no need to fear. I am Jesus; I am God. When life is dark and stormy, and you’re straining into the wind, I will come to you. I will save you from your fears; I will save you from death.”
St. Catherine of Siena summed it up very well: “Be comforted in Christ crucified, and do not be afraid.”
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/050711.shtml