Gospel calls us to trusting abandonment to God : Pope Francis

Pope Francis reflects on the Gospel account of Jesus calming the storm, reminding us that Jesus “is the Father’s hand who never abandons us.”In his Angelus reflection on the readings from Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis said the Gospel account of Jesus walking on the water “is a call to abandon ourselves trustingly to God in every moment of our life, especially in moments of trial and fear.”

The Gospel tells how Jesus, walking on the water in the midst of a storm, calls Peter to come to him on the water. Peter takes a few steps, but becomes frightened and begins to sink. He calls to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” and “Jesus grasps him by the hand and says to him, ‘O man of little faith, why did you doubt’.”

Jesus, the strong and faithful hand of the Father

Pope Francis said, “When we have strong feelings of doubt and fear and we seem to be sinking, we must not be ashamed to cry out, like Peter: ‘Lord, save me’.”Pope Francis said that this prayer is like knocking on God's heart and Jesus's heart. "We can repeat it many times," he said.

The Pope then invited us to contemplate Jesus’s action: “Jesus is the Father’s hand, who never abandons us, the strong and faithful hand of the Father, who always and only wants what is good for us.”God, the Pope said, recalling the Old Testament reading, is not in “the hurricane, the fire, the earthquake,” but rather comes to us in “the light breeze, that never imposes itself, but asks to be heard.”

The Pope reminded us that God knows how weak our faith is, and how difficult our journey is. “But He is the Risen One, the Lord who went through death in order to lead us back to safety. Even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us.”Maybe in the dark, we cry out: 'Lord, Lord!' thinking He is far away. And He says, 'I am here.' Ah, He was with me! That is the Lord."

The boat, the image of the Church

In the Gospel story, the Pope said, “the boat at the mercy of the storm is the image of the Church, which in every age encounters headwinds, very harsh trials at times.” He noted in particular “certain long and persistent persecutions” in the twentieth century, and added "and even today in certain places".In such times, he continued, the Church “may be tempted to think God has abandoned her.” However, he said, “it is precisely in those moments that the witness of faith, the witness of love, the witness of hope shines the most.”

The “presence of the Risen Christ in His Church,” the Pope said, “gives the grace of witness unto martyrdom, from which buds new Christians and fruit of reconciliation and peace for the entire world.”

Prayer for perseverance in faith love

Introducing the Angelus, the Holy Father invoked the Blessed Virgin, praying, “May the intercession of Mary Most Holy help us to persevere in faith and fraternal love when the darkness and storms of life place our trust in God in crisis.”