This is not a drill 3: Pope Francis speaks
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - March 29, 2020 - 12:00am

By now, if you haven’t realized what we are going through, stop, take a look around and stay home. For now, allow me to share the message of Pope Francis, the  “head coach” of the Catholic Church.

At Saturday dawn’s Urbi et Orbi, the Holy Father reflected on the gospel scene when Jesus and the disciples were on a boat buffeted by strong winds and waves. While the disciples panicked and didn’t know what to do, Jesus was calmly asleep. The Holy Father cites the situation, “We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing.”

Where are we in all this? The Pope asks us to get on the same boat. Aren’t we also facing a different kind of storm and are up against strong waves today? The kind of storm and waves that we have never encountered before? Aren’t we panicking and stressed out? Are we losing hope? Losing faith? And what does Jesus do? The Holy Father continues, “In spite of the tempest, He sleeps on soundly, trusting in the Father; When he wakes up, after calming the wind and the waters, he turns to the disciples in a reproaching voice: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” The Pope goes on to say that while the disciples didn’t totally abandon their faith, the storm revealed more of the lack of it; the lack of trust in God and the more reliance on oneself to get on in life. This is glaringly true in today’s world where we as members of this team may have taken Him out of our lives, relegating our relationship with Him as mere lip service.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, your word this evening strikes us. In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick. Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”, the Pope continues.

In this wake-up call of our lives, the Pope calls on us to increase our faith, and this doesn’t mean merely believing in God, but more importantly truly trusting and loving Him even more. “This Lent Your call reverberates urgently: ‘Be converted!’, ‘Return to me with all your heart’ (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others,” the Pope says in a call for action.

Listening to the Pope reminds us of how the world has turned away from our Lord. For me, this crisis will all end when we turn away from ourselves, recognize how we are nothing and then re-touch base with the Head Coach of all head coaches. This will all end when we recognize our faults and realize that all material things are just that: material or should I say actually immaterial. If we continue to rely solely on ourselves, we will never be able to deal with the storm and the waves, and will surely sink.


The Pope calls for all to strengthen our faith. “Faith begins when we realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things.”

And then the Pope asks us to embrace our cross. “Embracing His cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring.” This same cross will also be the rudder, sail and anchor, all in one that will make out boat cruise past the storm and waves.

Keep the faith, and more importantly, let’s do our share to pray, ask for forgiveness, give thanks and turn everything back to the Head Coach up there above.

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