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Jesus’ peace can calm any storm

Joseph F. Naumann is Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

COVID experience

I am grateful for all the prayers and words of encouragement that I received during my recent experience of the Covid-19 virus. It was worse than any flu virus I have experienced in the past 71 years. I am grateful that I did not contract the virus until after the death of my mother.

I have now even more empathy for all those who have lost a loved one to this virus. During this month of November, when we remember those who have died, I pray especially for eternal life for the members of the archdiocese who have died from COVID-19 and ask the risen Jesus to comfort their families.

I am thankful that I was able to recover from this vicious virus through a combination of rest and the immune system God designed into the human body.

Fortunately, my symptoms were not considered severe enough to require any kind of drug therapy, much less hospitalization. It is amazing that a virus as debilitating, and even potentially deadly, as Covid-19 — in the vast majority of cases — can be overcome by the defense system imbedded in the body.

Vatican McCarrick Report

By the time this edition of The Leaven arrives in your mailbox, the Vatican’s McCarrick report will have been released to the public. The bishops of the United States did not receive an advance copy of the lengthy report, so I am not able to comment on its content until I have had time to read it carefully.

However, regardless of the report’s findings, I encourage all of us to renew our prayers for all victims of sexual abuse and to recommit our efforts to assist with their healing.

I am grateful to all those in the archdiocese that minister to victims. It is also a moment to recommit to the efforts of the past 20 years to create the safest possible environment within our parishes, schools and ministries.

I am grateful to all those in the archdiocese and in our parishes who help keep our church vigilant in our efforts to prevent abuse and to protect all those who are vulnerable.

Post-election hope

Prior to the election, the church emphasized the responsibility of Catholics to be well formed and well informed voters.

The Catholic laity has a special responsibility to bring the principles of our Catholic faith into the public square and to be engaged citizens.

Elections are important. They have consequences, good and bad. However, it is also important to remember that our hope as Christians is not tied to election results.

Our hope is not in any earthly leader, but is anchored in the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. This is a hope no election result can provide or deny us.

Jesus remains with us no matter the exterior circumstances of our lives. Our Lord is faithful to his promise to be with his disciples until the end of time.

This past March, during the worst days of the worldwide pandemic, Pope Francis led a eucharistic Holy Hour in an empty St. Peter’s Square.

On that occasion, Pope Francis reflected on a passage from Chapter 4 of St. Mark’s Gospel in which the apostles are crossing the Sea of Galilee when they get caught in a ferocious storm.

Several of the apostles were fishermen. They spent their lives on the sea. They had weathered many storms. Yet, this storm was unusually severe and had them in a panic.

Mark contrasts the terror of the disciples to the absolute calm of Jesus who is asleep in the stern of the boat.

During this violent and terrifying storm, Jesus is completely at peace, sleeping serenely while his disciples are terrified. This passage is the only time in all four Gospels that Jesus is depicted sleeping.

The disciples wake Jesus and accuse him of not caring that they are about to perish. After calming the wind and the sea, Jesus asks the disciples: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Jesus might pose the same questions to us: Why are we so terrified? 

Pope Francis reminded us back in March, no matter the turmoil in the world around us, Jesus is with us. If we desire peace, we must draw close to Our Lord. With the blessed assurance that Jesus is in the boat with us, we can be fearless.

For the disciple of Jesus, even on Friday the 13th, we are called to be not afraid!

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Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Joseph F. Naumann is the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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