Liturgy: Fourth Sunday after Epiphany - Jesus Commands the Winds and the Sea

February 01, 2019
Source: District of the USA

“Lord, save us, we perish; command, O God, and make a calm” (Magnificat antiphon).

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord shows His divinity by commanding the angry sea and raging wind, powerful and intractable forces in creation. The wonderful character of the miracle is brought out clearly by the sacred writer in the contrast which he draws between the fierce turmoil of the waves and the "great calm" that followed (Gospel). Since it is in the Church that the kingship of Christ is most fully carried out, the Fathers saw in the howling wind of the storm a type of the devils whose pride stirs up persecutions against God's people, and in the troubled sea the passions and malice of men, the great source of disobedience to authority and of fraternal strife.

On the other hand, in the Church the great law of charity prevails, for while in the first three commandments the duty of loving God is laid upon us, by the remaining seven, as a natural result, we are bound to the love of our neighbor (Epistle). Our Lord manifests Himself as the Son of God, and all those who acknowledge Him as such, and accept Him as their Leader and Head, become members of His mystical body. Being one in Christ, all Christians should love one another.

"This ship," says St. Augustine, "was a type of the Church," which through the centuries shows forth the divinity of our Lord. To His all-powerful protection indeed she owes the fact that in spite of her frailty (Collect, Secret) she has not been swallowed up by the dangers which threaten her (Collect). St. John Chrysostom remarks, "Our Lord seems to sleep, that He may oblige us to have recourse to Him, nor does He ever fail to save those who call upon Him."