A Small Boat in the Storm

by Jenny Labbadia, Communications and Outreach Associate 

This past weekend, we all began celebrations for the Fourth of July—the day of our country’s independence. People come from all over the country to celebrate here in Washington, D.C.

Though I should be celebrating, I can’t help but think about what else is happening here in our nation’s capital. Day after day, the Columban Center and our partner organizations defend the rights of the poor and vulnerable before policy-makers and government officials. Now, more than ever, it seems those communities are not being supported and are under attack.

Every day there is something new. Immigrant communities are being deported, treated poorly, and discriminated against, protections against the environment are being loosened, unjust trade deals are being negotiated, the poor and sick may lose their healthcare.

While all of this is going on, I am also coping with a time of transition and stress in my own life. But, as I juggle all of this, I reflect on the reading from tomorrow’s Gospel.

In it, Jesus and his disciples are in a boat being tossed around by a violent storm. While Jesus is sleeping, his disciples grow worried. As the boat continues to be tossed around, they finally wake up Jesus and urge him, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

Jesus wakes up, rebukes the wind and the sea and a great calmness overcomes them. He asks them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” (MT 8:23-27)

As I reflect on the state of our world, and the state of my life, I feel like Jesus’ disciples in that boat. Suddenly, life is tossing me around and I can’t find any calmness on my own. I am a small boat in a big storm.

But, this week’s Gospel reminds me that I am not alone. Whenever I am frustrated by the injustices of the world, I need only look a little further to find people fighting to make them right. 

Here in D.C., my co-workers and colleagues fight tirelessly every day to stand up for the vulnerable. In my own personal life, my friends and family are there to pick me up when I am struggling. These are the people that give me hope and remind me I am not alone.

So, today I ask you to reflect: What in your life is tossing you around? Who is there to pick you up and remind you that you are not alone? What gives you hope? Do you have faith that calmness will come?

Weekly Reflections on Justice is produced by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, Columban parishioners, Columban Missionaries, and friends of the Columbans. We hope these reflections help to guide you in your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.