Homily on Matthew 8:23-27 by St Augustine: “What is the Meaning of Jesus is Asleep?”

This ship, in which Jesus was asleep, and which was on the point of being swallowed up by the waves, is a figure of the dangers threatening man’s life, compared to a sea continually agitated by winds and storms. The waves rising in the sea are the daily temptations of our life, assailing our fragile ship and threatening it with dismal wreck and destruction. And whence comes such impending danger, but because Jesus is asleep? Were not Jesus asleep within you, you would not be exposed to all these storms; but interior peace and perfect calm would be your happy lot, through Jesus watching with you. For what is the meaning of Jesus is asleep? Your faith in Jesus has fallen asleep. The tempests of the sea arise; you see evil men flourishing, good and just men in trouble and misery; your faith is shaken and tossed about as by furious waves. And in this temptation your soul says: Is this Thy justice, O God, that the wicked should flourish, whilst the just are in trouble and misery? You say to God: Is this Thy justice? And God says to you: Is this your faith? Have I promised you the perishable things of the world? Have I called you to be My followers, that is, Christians, that you should flourish in this life? Are you grieving because you see the wicked enjoying all earthly pleasures, who shall hereafter be tormented with the devil? But why all these complaints? Why are you disturbed by the waves of the sea and the storm? Because Jesus is asleep; that is, because your faith in Jesus has been laid asleep in your hearts. How will you be delivered from this great danger? Awaken Jesus, and say to Him: Lord, save us, we perish; the waves of temptation rise against us and threaten our souls with impending death. And Jesus will awake, that is, your faith will return to you. And with His help you will recognise that the happiness the wicked enjoy will not abide with them. For, either it will be taken from them while they live, or they will be forced to leave it when they die. But the happiness promised to you will abide for ever and ever. What is granted to the wicked for a time, will soon be taken away; for they flourish like the flower of the grass. All flesh is as grass ; the grass is withered, and the flower thereof is fallen away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever (1 Pet 1:24-25). Turn, therefore, your back upon that which falls and is perishable, and your face to that which abides to the end. Now that Jesus is awake, the storm shall no more shake your hearts, the waves shall not fill your barque (boat). Your faith commands the winds and the waves, and the danger shall pass away, when a great calm will follow the storm. To all this, beloved brethren, belongs what the Apostle says about putting off the old man. Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go do wn upon your anger. Give not place to the devil (Eph 4:26-27). The old man did give place; let not the new man do the same. He that stole, let him now steal no more (ver. 28). The old man, then, did steal; not so the new. It is the same man, it is one man. It was Adam, let it be Christ; it was the old man, let it be the new man.

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1 Response to Homily on Matthew 8:23-27 by St Augustine: “What is the Meaning of Jesus is Asleep?”

  1. Pingback: Sunday, November 3, 2013: Commentaries for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms) | stjoeofoblog

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