Darkness and Jesus had not yet come…

Jn 6:17b It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. [1]

Night happens daily. Even when the dawn has just awakened, I know that, unless the Parousia happens in the meantime, night will eventually come again. Of itself, it is a marvelous phenomenon of the natural course of events. It is the daily equivalent of the Sabbath, God has given us and all creatures this time, some like me, to rest, and some to forage and be protected from their predators. It is a good time, a quiet time, a time of silence before God.

However, night has a different reputation; it has sinister connotation, equating it with the darkness of evil. Even the Gospel utilizes this sense: this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness. [Lk 22:53] and places Judas in its center; he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night. [Jn 13:30] Even poor Peter must be called from its clutches by the cock crowing twice. [Mk 14:30]

I have tended to look at this with human eyes. If i look at the facts without the overlay of human reaction, we have simple statements, night and Jesus was not there. However, I invest these two elements with the power to inspire fear and anxiety. While I know that in the next verse John adds the element of a stormy sea, let me stick to this statement for today. As Jesus says, Let’s not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. [Mt 6:34]

What is missing from this picture?…and from the Apostle’s boat? Jesus had not yet come to them. Jesus, the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [Jn 1:4-5]

But is He really missing? Was He not the one who stood by us in this hour? Was He not the one who, even at the last hour tried by exposing His preknowledge of Judas’ plan to Judas to call him back from the brink, to dissuade him from going? Was He not the one who foreknew Peter’s fall, that Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers. [Lk 22:31-32] Do I really think that Jesus did not know about the peril of His Apostles in the boat? Pshaw! Why did He come to them on the water. To be with them, to comfort them, to reassure them, to strengthen their faith, to show them the power of God to care for them.

Why do you stay away? I suppose that it is similar to the purpose of our periods of Your consolation and desolation. The former when I feel Your presence, I experience Your encouragement, I know You strengthen, reassure, firm-up my faith. The latter, when You are shrouded in mystery, in Your Divinity, You remind me that I cannot do it alone, that You suffered and died because I sin, that I must not rely on myself but on You, that salvation is based on faith, not by abiding by the law, for the law defines our sin, but by clinging to You in faith for faith defines our salvation from sin, You remind me that even when I cannot feel Your presence, You are with me always, even to the end of time itself.

Jesus, sometimes when You “have not yet come to me,” I am adrift in my little punt, the sea of life tossing me up and crashing me down. You even embody my fears in my dreams and then awaken me, shake me out of my night-mareish terror, and bring me back to the reality of Your presence, Your steadfast, rock-solid, never failing presence. And I am home again, in Your loving arms, draped around Your strong shoulders, being carried once again back to the flock from which I have wandered. Help me have trust in You, have faith in You, that when I call with You to You: my God, my God, why have you forsaken me,[Mt 27:46] You are there and turn to me and say: Amen, Amen, I say to you, this day you will be with me in paradise. [Lk 23:43] Amen.   Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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