In the Gospel reading (John 6:16-21), the apostles embark on a simple journey, from one shore to another, but Jesus is delayed and the disciples depart. It was already dark and they were fighting against the strong swell due to the intense wind. In the midst of this difficult situation, Jesus puts the finishing touch on the situation by scaring them as he approached them walking on the water. “Do not fear, it’s me,” he tells them when he sees that they are afraid.
When we are struggling with some problems in our life, how often do unforeseen things happen that force us to say, “And now this!”? The “this”, as it turns out, is usually Jesus.
My husband, my four children and I were living in a town where God was rejected. A place where only one Mass was celebrated on Sundays (and not always, we often went two weeks without consecrated Hosts) and where nothing that was related to the Christianity (Catholic or Protestant) prospered. Therefore the Sacraments almost did not exist, and my family longed for them so much.
My youngest children (at that time 12 years old) were being bullied at school. They suffered to the point that one of them was being assisted by a psychologist and the other refused to return to school after having escaped, because he felt desperate about the hostile environment.
We did not know what to do. We prayed, asking the Lord, and we didn’t hear anything. Suddenly, one of my children gets a wound in his foot and ends up with osteomyelitis hospitalized in a nearby town! When we took him to the orthopedic surgeon, we learned that the first practices done to him had worsened the situation and, at that moment, his life could be in danger.
“And now this!”
Even more! We had scheduled a vacation that we had to suspend, and we had to spend that Christmas in the hospital, celebrating to the extent that we could (of course Jesus was certainly there).
After much prayer, the anointing of the sick and 15 days of hospitalization, my son recovered and we returned home (not a trace of the infection was left). Why, Lord, did You allow that situation?
There is always a “why”. God wants to say, correct, confirm or teach us when he allows these unexpected situations to happen.
The “why” was simple: The Lord warned us that the life (spiritual and physical) of our children and ours was in danger in that place, where God was strictly rejected and other spirits, not from the Kingdom of Heaven, reigned. With my husband, we made the determination to move to another place and Jesus slowly guided us to the city where we are today.
Great surprise we had! In this city, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24 hours a day in the parish, the Christian life flourishes abundantly, and since then our children and we, too, have recovered joy and peace.
Thank you Lord for the “And now this!” It is You calling our attention to give us back Your peace and joy.”