Reflection & Dialogue: Prayer for help in a troubled Church
What is indicated as material for reflection with regard to the present readings seems determined by the Gospel text, and many of the reflections are already incorporated into the comments on this reading. The boat battered by the waves of the sea and storm have been taken traditionally as symbols of the Church in her journey through the sea of time, with Jesus coming to her aid in times of distress. Peter calls out for help. There are other texts in the Gospel with the same message, in fact more explicitly so than this one. Jesus himself by his example and teaching has stressed the need for prayer. Prayer is a profession of faith in the Church as mystery, as a gift of God understood through faith, enlivened and in fact sustained through prayer.
The Catholic and universal, worldwide, Church encounters different problems and dangers in various parts of the world, from persecution and the danger of annihilation to the problems of scandals from within. In the old and the English-speaking world its chief problems today arise from a prevailing lack of faith, and opposition to faith, in the surrounding secular world, and the attacks on the credibility of the Church itself from failings and scandals within it, as well as the lack of vocations to the priestly and religious life, which were both a service to the Church by their activity and a sign to the believing community of values beyond the merely human to be believed in. It is a time to address prayer to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest, to send his Holy Spirit to keep the values of the kingdom alive in believers’ hearts. It is a time of calling for fervent prayer to God to purify his Church from sin and scandal, to have it abound in the good works that will glorify our Father who is in heave.