SUNDAY, TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Jb 38:1, 8-11; Ps 107:23-26,28-31; 2 Cor 5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41
CALMING THE STORMS WITH JESUS
The first thing that we notice in the Gospel today is the calmness of Jesus in the face of the storm. Their lives were in danger, but Jesus could find the peace of mind to rest awhile. This is what complete trust in God and reliance on his providence looks like. As the Psalmist says, “I will lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord make me lie down in safety” (Ps 4:8). How often have we lost sleep over tensions and troubles? How often have we allowed the happenings of life to take away our peace of mind and replace it with anxiety? Jesus not only urged his listeners to surrender their lives to God in complete faith and trust, but did it himself.
On the other hand, the disciples were overwhelmed with fear when they saw the huge waves beating against their boat. They were filled with anxiety as the boat was tossed about by the waves due to the storm. The Jews in the time of Jesus, associated storms at sea with danger, terror, insecurity, chaos and demonic powers – things that threaten human life. Thus, the disciples thought that they were going to perish. They had forgotten that their Master was in the boat with them. They had forgotten all the marvels he had worked; the miracles he had performed. This is what happens to us as well.
When all things are going on well in life, it is easy to be a Christian; it is easy to pray, it is easy to do charity, it is easy to be regular with our religious practices and penances. But when storms arise, we can forget that the same God who was with us in the good times, is also with us in these difficult ones. These are the times when we need him most; yet, we look the other way. The true worth of our courage is seen in times of fear; of our hope, in times of despair; of our faith, in times of suffering and difficulty.
In their distress, the disciples woke the Lord. Jesus “rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And then the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” This is the fulfilment of the prophecy of the psalmist that we heard in the responsorial psalm today. Jesus, by this act, proved that he and the Father were one. For, the same powers attributed to God by the psalmist were manifested in Jesus – “He stilled the storm to a whisper: all the waves of the sea were hushed” (Ps 107:25). This miracle proved his power over nature, and consequently, over all of creation; a power attributed to God in the first reading – “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped.” And since, to the Jews, the storms at sea symbolized insecurity, chaos and demonic powers, Jesus also demonstrated his power and authority over the spiritual world.
All Christians have storms that erupt in their journey of faith. St Augustine (Sermon 51) asserted: “As a vessel on the sea is exposed to a thousand dangers – pirates, quicksand, hidden rocks, tempests, so man in this life is encompassed with perils, arising from the temptations of hell, from the occasions of sin, from the scandals or bad counsels of men, from human respect and above all from the passions of corrupt nature… This should not cause him to lose confidence. When you find yourself assaulted by a violent passion… take whatever steps you can to avoid the occasion of sin and place your reliance on God. When the tempest is violent, the pilot never takes his eyes from the light which guides him to port. In like manner, we should keep our eyes turned to God, who alone can deliver us from the many dangers to which we are exposed.” (Sermon 51).
The storms whether in the life of a Christian or the life of the church, are like a boat or a vessel on the sea. When storms at sea rise, the vessel is overwhelmed, and the inhabitants are filled with fear of drowning. The waves beat the vessel and the strong wind drags the vessel to other directions. At such moments, allow Jesus to be the pilot of our life; he will calm the storms and guide us towards the eternal light. Especially in the midst of this storm of the corona pandemic, let us trust that with Jesus Christ, we will triumph over it.
Response: O give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his mercy endures forever
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