The Dominican Saint Raymond of Penyafort had a profound influence on the life of the Church in that he helped to codify what we know today as the Code of Canon Law. He was the third Master of the Order and refused a bishopric in order to dedicate himself to parish work and help ordinary people with their spiritual lives. Saint Raymond died in 1275 and was canonised in 1601 by Pope Clement VIII. Saint Raymond is the heavenly patron of civil and canon lawyers.
In the days when I was young and fit, my brother and I would often take a rowing boat out on Lake Windermere where my family would frequently holiday. One day we found ourselves out in the middle of the lake in a storm, the outboard motor ran out of petrol and we had to row hard against the wind in order to reach the shore. I know exactly how the men rowing the boat in today’s gospel felt. They were afraid, their muscles burned, and their arms felt like lead weights. The wind whipped against them as they struggled to maintain control of the boat. Our Lord knew where they were and what their needs were. Suddenly, there he was striding across the water towards them. They cried out, now fearful both of the water and of the miracle they were witnessing. Seeing their anxiety, Our Lord climbed into the rocking boat with them and the winds died down.
We can be like those disciples in the rocking boat. Our Lord asked us to get into the boat that is the Church and we did, first through Baptism, then Confirmation, and later, for some of us, by Religious Profession, Ordination and Marriage, and as often as we recommit ourselves to follow him. But the storms of life continue to overwhelm us: like everyone else we have our own worries, concerns, illness, anxiety. Like the disciples, we too cry out in fear from our place in the boat. Then we realize that the Lord is near, walking through the rough times with us. Time and time again he climbs into the boat with us, reminding us to get a grip of ourselves. We need to learn that no matter what the outward circumstances of our predicaments, Our Lord is always near to calm our troubled spirits.