e are at sea caught up in a storm far from home. Our boat has overturned and we are trying to keep our head above the water as huge waves crash upon us. The coastguard has been dispatched in what will become a dramatic search and rescue by air. When we catch sight of him high above us, we have to cry out for help. It’s difficult to keep focus. The waves are enormous and the storm clouds are thick and dark. The heavy rain obscures our vision. We cry out for help. We pray he can see us as he seems so far away above the waters. We can’t hear him. He can’t hear us so he attaches himself to a line and from the heights must, himself, plunge into the deadly waters we are in.
As he battles his way through the crashing waves towards us, we must be ready to courageously and without fear let go of what we have been dependent on to keep ourselves afloat. And then, the most important moment, as he reaches out, we have to hold on to him with all our effort and have the faith that, as he lift us up and out of this “death,” he will bring us to safety. But we can resist our rescue. And even in the midst of that saving moment, how easy it is to be distracted by the storm and the mighty winds, to loose faith and panic, loosing our grip on the one who is actively saving us.
For many of us who live in the midst of the storms of this world, we recognize how fear can be at times more common than faith. Christ constantly assured his disciples, “Do not be afraid.” He plunged Himself, not only into the storms of human life but also even into the very grip of death itself. He rose from its murky depths in the power of the resurrection and for those still holding on to Him for life’s sake, salvation can be assured.
But how do we enter into a dramatic saving event that historically happened 2000 years ago. Because Jesus is God enfleshed, the event of humanity’s salvation has spilled over into eternity – like a shock wave extending through all of creation, including all time. Christ continues to reach out to us offering us His life and we can also reach out to Him. Through His Church, which continues His mission and ministry of salvation to the world, we are given the opportunity to never let go of our “hold” on Him. In what we have come to call “sacraments,” we come face to face with our eternal Savior and our salvation.
Being saved by Christ is not an intellectual assumption by simply reading the facts. Nor can the changing emotions of the heart assure us we have “been lifted up with Christ.” Salvation is a graced and eternal event, accomplished once and for all by Christ, but, thank God, into which we can enter here and now, again and again until we can finally and faithfully come to the truth that we can never let go. And that will be heaven!
Jesus Christ – God With Us