Senior Jesuits missioned to
Prayer for the Society of Jesus
and residing in the Jesuit
Center at Wernersville
(name and year of entrance
into the Society)
George Aschenbrenner (1954), William Dawson (1946), James Lemon (1954),
John Martinez (1949), John McCaslin (1955), Edwin Sanders (1946)
LUKE 5: 1-11 (Gospel reading for Sunday, February 7, 2016)
…. Jesus sees two
boats on the shore. He distinguishes one from the other though each is suitable and he picks the boat belonging to Peter. “Why me? Why my boat?” The answer for us: Jesus wanted us for particular service. Besides he wanted us as companions. As Peter, James and John left their former
way of life, we parted from friends and the usual patterns of life that they
followed. Peter, it is written, knows himself unworthy. He doubts his capacity for courage, loyalty, integrity. Jesus does not argue with him but as always, the call is bolstered by a promise. "Do not be afraid, I will make you a fisher of people."
miraculous draught of fish becomes for us: the sum total of spiritual
conversations; the Spirit that still enlivens our sacraments; our prayers in so
many public places; the multitude of parishioners, students and others who
passed before us.
The first call came to us when we were young. But the call now is no less genuine, loving
and urgent. Genuine because Jesus has
come to depend on us, loving because we have shown our love for him by our
deeds and urgent because we and he together know more now about the threats to
faith and justice than we knew as young men.
Today there are limits to our capacity to serve. We serve one another in community, we serve
others both in person and by means of communications, and we serve all those in
need according to our prayer and our own witness to God’s love and mercy. Perhaps the miraculous draught of fish lives
more in memory than present action but still Jesus invites us: “Do
not be afraid, you have been, are and will be fishers of people. I behold it all and I offer it to you for your
Jim, John, Chuck, Buddy (standing left to right) and Andrew, Seamus and Hank
These seven St. Joseph's Prep senior leaders welcomed some 45 Prep juniors in the class of 2017 to their retreat at the Jesuit Center. Their retreat leadership was essential to the success of Prep Kairos 148. These seven young men represent an outstanding Prep class of 2016.
A violent squall came up and waves were
breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
In writings about Jesus and his disciples the uses and
importance of water take a prominent place……We have heard about a miraculous catch of fish and a washing of the
feet. But today we read not about the
blessings of water but about water whipped up by a storm and putting lives in
….Jesus chooses to protect his disciples and himself, too,
from the storm that they encounter on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus as the first born of all creation is
also present in every part of creation sustaining, redeeming and bringing it to
fulfillment. But as the storm rages
around them, none of this is apparent to the disciples. As the winds and waves threaten to sink the
boat, they awaken Jesus with shouts: “We
know you are tired but how can you sleep with this deluge breaking over
us?” The disciples want an extra hand to
help bale or help with the rigging.
But Jesus knows better: they don’t need an extra hand. “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” And he stills the wind and the waves with
his words: “Quiet! Be still!” Jesus,
here and even often, accuses the disciples of lack of faith. Nevertheless he keeps coaxing them
In fact the disciples earlier in this very
gospel account distinguished themselves from those who are disbelievers and
perhaps cynical to boot. These hearts are hardened; they want miracles
and have no interest in answering Jesus’ call. But among the disciples there is, to be sure,
some modicum of faith. The faith shows when they recognize that the
stilling of the storm is not simply an accident. The disciples’ belief in the power expressed
in Jesus’ words becomes sheer amazement in the person of Jesus: “Who then is this whom even
wind and sea obey?”
It might have crossed Jesus’ mind simply to drown
with his best friends at his side. (Could this moment be the one in the painting?) This
would be easier than going through what he expects lies ahead. But filled with courage Jesus makes sure that both he and his disciples survive and continue to answer the call. Survival gives the disciples the space and time
they need to grow into a stronger faith.
Without this growth Jesus’ whole enterprise fails……
Years ago when I first entered the cyber age, my first email was unsolicited from Svetlana. She wanted to introduce me to some lovely Russian ladies. So to all of the Svetlanas out there I am sending pictures and texts about the areas of life that give me hope and strength. These things are, I hope, life-giving for others out there in cyberspace.
Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, of whom I am one, reminds us to recall constantly those ideas, those relationships, those situations that have given us consolation. Some of what I have found consoling I offer here.
The material here does not necessarily represent the views of the Society of Jesus.