Fourth Sunday After The Epiphany GOSPEL Mt.8.23 The Sunday Meditation
GOSPEL (Matt. 8:23-27)
At that time, Jesus entered into the boat, and his disciples followed him: And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: "Lord, save us, we perish." And Jesus saith to them: "Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith?" Then rising up, he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: "What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?
Conſiderations for Sunday.
The holy Catholic Church: of all other things, is most aptly compared to a ship, sailing upon the Sea.
And because Saint Peter of a ship man indeed by his trade of life, was constituted by Christ chief head, and governor of this ship: therefore it is by way of similitude called Saint Peters ship, where of this ship here in the gospel is a most lively figure.
As therefore this: ship, into which Christ ascended with his disciples, was so tossed with the tempest , that it was almost overwhelmed, and covered with the waves, and surges of the ſea, where in Christ not withstanding slept, the disciples, and others that were in the ship being in great fear, and danger, as they thought, of drowning: So is the ship of the Catholic Church sailing upon the Ocean of the universal world oftentimes so tossed with the Tempest of heresy, and Schism, that it seem to be in danger of drowning: and Christ sleeps, and let it alone, as if he knew not thereof.
In a great tempest, it is a world to see, how every one in the ship will bestir them selves; one pulling this rope, another that: one hoisting up this sail, another pulling in that; one running hither, another thither, ready to run for haste one over another, as if they were vexed, and agitated with evil spirits, as they are with evil winds: in so much that if one should, see them a far off, and not know the cause, he would think they were mad.
Thus no doubt did they,that were in this ship, in this great tempeſt, before they had leisure of awaking Christ, and calling upon him: who peradventure was gotten out of their sight into one corner or other, to take a nap, having been over watched in prayer, in preaching, and teaching, and other good exercises in the day: fulfilling that, which the Prophet David saith, God hath commanded, his mercy, that is, the works of mercy, in the day, and his praise in the night; or peradventure he did it of purpose, to see how they would bestir them selves, and call upon him for help.
So must we doe when the ship of the Catholic Church is in the like danger, every one in his Kind, to do the best he can.
Christ did not blame the disciples, because they awake him, (for to that end he slept, to ſee how they would bestir them selves in awaking him) but because they doubted drowning crying out We perish, he being in the ship; for that it was he rebuked them, and called them of little faith.
For if God be with us in our tribulations, though he seem to sleep never so long, we shall not do amiss: He that keep Israel, to wit those that be his by grace, and trust in him, doeth neither slumber nor sleep.
Such therefore God is always in the ship of the Catholic Church, though he seem to sleep never so long, and suffer it to be tossed with the tempest of heresy, and schism, (which is the greatest danger of all) never so much: let us do our best endeavor to awake him, but never doubt or despair of his help at last: let us call to mind, it was never to like to be drowned, as in the tempest that that the Aryan heretics raised, whereof good Saint Jerome said, that all, the world did groan under it, and wondered it was become Aryan; which heresy reigned three hundred years together and is now quite extinct and so hath been many hundred years together, or if not quite extinct, not able to hold up its head.
A PLAINE PATH-WAY TO HEAVEN BY FR.THOMAS HILL 1634