The past week our fellow kababayans experienced fear and anxiety when news that North Korea’s military is “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around the US territory of Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles. CNN reported that specifically, the statement mentioned a potential strike on Andersen Air Force Base designed “to send a serious warning signal to the US.” In the local front, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake shook Nasugbu town in Batangas and other areas in Luzon Friday afternoon.
These are stories and events that evoked fear and anxiety amongst people in Asia and the Pacific, more so that there have been terrifying events happening lately as well. Similarly, the Gospel tells of the story when Jesus walked towards the disciples on the sea, and “they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” (Mt. 14: 26-27)
Many times in our Christian life we have been reminded that as long as we have faith, we don’t have to worry or fear, as the Lord will be there to protect us. It comes with the assurance, “It is I”, which is akin to the signature of God.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the interpretations of the phrase “I Am that I Am”, (which is another way of saying it) is found in numbers 203-213.
Specifically, in 206,
“In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (“I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is – infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.”
In our journey of faith, the steps we take progressively become difficult and there are times we ran out of momentum such that we take a dip. Challenges in the form of difficulties on the road we take, critics that appear from the unexpected places, and our energies suddenly seem insufficient to carry us through, really bring us down to the ground. We feel the force of the wind and the courage that prompted us to start the journey can be clouded in doubt and darkness.
Yet it is in these low points of our life that the Lord challenges us to make the real act of faith, without the momentum and enthusiasm that propelled us to begin our journey. We have to remember that just like in Peter’s case, amidst doubt and fear, Jesus responded promptly to help in his distress. Let us remember that “Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter”. (Mt. 14: 31)
So the next time we experience distress, let us remember that “it is the Lord”, who said, “do not be afraid.” And He signed it to give us His promise and guarantee.
“Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.” (Ps. 85: 8)