Wednesday after Epiphany
"About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them"
“Then he made the disciples get into the boat while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up to pray. When it was evening, he was there alone” (cf. Mt 14,22-23). If we are to explain these happenings we must distinguish between the times. If he was alone in the evening, this points to his solitude at the hour of his Passion when panic had caused everyone to scatter. If he made his disciples get into the boat and cross over the sea while he himself dismissed the crowds, and if, having dismissed them, he went up a mountain, this means that he directed them to remain in the Church and to sail across the sea – that is to say, this world – until, at his return in glory, he would grant salvation to all who are to be the remnant of Israel (cf. Rom 11,5)... and this people would give thanks to God his Father and be set firm within his glory and majesty...
“During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them.” In the expression “fourth watch of the night” we find the number corresponding to the signs of his care. Thus, the first watch was that of the Law; the second, that of the prophets; the third, that of his coming in the flesh; the fourth is situated in his return in glory. But he will find the Church declining and hemmed in by the spirit of the Antichrist and all the distresses of this world. He will come when anxieties and afflictions are at their height... The disciples will be terrified even by the coming of the Lord, fearing the images of a reality distorted by the Antichrist and by the deceitful imaginations infiltrating their sight. But our good Lord will speak to them directly, casting out their fear and saying: “It is I”, dispersing their fear of imminent shipwreck by faith in his coming.