These mariners are all at sea, one of them in great distress, seasick, transfixed by the waves. It puts me in mind of two things: when the apostles were in peril on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus came to them over the water: this is almost a ‘Jesus’ eye view of them as he approaches!
And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walking upon the sea. And they seeing him walk upon the sea, were troubled, saying: It is an apparition. And they cried out for fear. And immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying: Be of good heart: it is I, fear ye not.
The second thought that springs to mind is the unfortunate group of people who died in the back of a lorry on their way to what they hoped would be a new life in Britain. These were not hundreds of miles away on the Mediterranean Sea, but in a car park a few miles from London, dying from cold and suffocation, while those who drove by them on the Continent or in England were completely unaware they were there.
Nor we dare forget the thousands in peril on that Mediterranean Sea, crammed into small, unseaworthy boats, hoping to reach Europe and a new life. And the many awaiting their chance to embark on this perilous voyage in North Africa or Turkey or on their way through Africa or Asia, after paying vast sums to people smugglers, human traffickers.
Over the years many migrants have brought great gifts to their host countries; they and their children have settled and become good neighbours. Perhaps you can number immigrants among your ancestors?
Let’s pray that we might have a “Jesus’ eye view” of today’s migrants, as Pope Francis urges us.
And let us pray that the distressed may have an Andrew’s eye view of the Saviour approaching, either to be welcomed to a dignified life in a new land, or opening his arms to lead them eternal life with him, after all their trials here below.