Job 38:1,8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41
We heard in the Gospel the disciples question Jesus: “Do you not care that we are perishing?” We are often tempted to put much the same question to God whenever life becomes lonely and is filled with unexpected anguish. We often ask why it should happen to us only. We see in the Gospel, Jesus giving the disciples a immediate miraculous relief. We can ask why Jesus does not give us similar relief and more so why does he send the storm on to us. We have no answer to this question. Perhaps only in the heavenly bliss we will have the full answer to it. Only our faith and hope leads us to God and keeps us closer to him. There may be at times a prolonged lonely time placed on to us and we still wonder why. Perhaps Jesus understood this fully when he said on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” The answer to him was the silence of the Father, yet Jesus keeps his trust in the Father and the love of the Father prevails.
In today’s Gospel passage Jesus leads us through a process by which we come to know the real identity of Jesus as it is gradually revealed. Jesus tells his disciples to cross over in a boat to the opposite shore of the Lake of Galilee. They get into the boat and, we are told, there were some other boats accompanying them. The Gospel also says that they left the crowd behind them. The crowds frequently gather around Jesus but they are not really numbered among his followers. They listen to him, they marvel at his miracles but they are at the most only potential followers. They are never really with him. As they are rowing through the lake, a storm suddenly comes up. Generally, Lake of Galilee is known for its notorious and sudden storms. Large waves were breaking over the boat and filling it with water. the disciples were all frightened and thought their boat was going to sink. Jesus who was travelling with them was fast asleep at the back of the boat, on a cushion, apparently unaware of their situation. They are desperate and, they wake him up: “Master, do you not care? We are going down!” Jesus gets up and rebukes the wind and speaks to the sea: “Quiet now! Be calm!” and all is quiet. Then he tells the disciples, where is your faith? Was there a reason to be scared when he is present. Indeed their admiration for him increases. Even the nature and sea obey him, they say. We see Jesus now as the master of the universe with total control over all creation.
“They all rejoiced because of the calm and he led them safely to the shore. He indeed was their saviour and they knew very well that they could rely on him in their troubles and in their difficulties. Hence Peter could so easily say: “Lord to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life.” Jesus shows this to us to indicate how powerful his kingdom is and he is in total control over the situation. Perhaps a deeper teaching is given to us today as it was given to the early church. We can read the story as a kind of parable or allegory of the Church and especially of the early Church but also of the Church in many places in our own time. We can see the boat, here and in other parts of the Gospel, as symbolising the Church. And in fact, as already mentioned, there were a number of boats, representing the different church communities. Each one has to deal with its problems in its own way. All of them struggling being caught in the rough sea and finding difficult to escape the storm. In one boat are the disciples of Jesus and Jesus is with them. The water all around them represents the world. The early Church then was like a small, fragile boat in a huge and often hostile world. Sometimes storms broke out and threatened the boat-Church. The History tells us of the early persecutions as several enemies of the church and movements were determined to wipe it out.
in such difficult, confused and frightening situations the question would be, where is Jesus? It looks as if he is far away, fast asleep or far away and does not really care of the struggle of his people. It is there the people cry out to say, Lord don’t you care? We are drowning. Jesus now comes and says I am there with you and he will calm the storm in the life of the church community. In their prayers they realised that Jesus was still with them and they began to experience an inner peace. They came to realise that the storm was not in the sea but in their own fears and anxieties. The peace, too, was in their own hearts. The world around them was still the same and had not changed; it continued to persecute and oppress them. Yet the faith of the Christians was strong that Jesus was still with them. This is true in our times particularly in India when the Christian community is facing similar storms. Very often we have no control over the political and social developments of our society; we have little or no control over what other people are doing.
This theme of Divine power is manifested in the first reading of today from the book of Job. People are fully aware that it is only God who can control over all the elements of the universe. This book raises several questions concerning the problem of evil in the world. We are often concerned of the suffering of the innocent in the world. Job, the innocent person, suffers and is accused of guilt by his “friends,” and yet remains content with his total trust in God. God proclaims His superiority over the seas and all powers and the final victory is His. Then Job has no reason whatsoever to experience doubts. At the same time God indicated to Job that He is in full control of creation. He explains to him of the origin of the earth, the seas and the light. He tells him of his sovereignty and Job has no doubts. He tells him of the nature and Consequently, God reveals Himself to Job, and Job to himself.” As human beings it is as it is to make false assumptions. We easily judge God as we frequently tend to judge others human persons, without knowing all the particulars of a situation. Man’s wisdom is equal to God’s foolishness. Man’s faith should be in God, the Divine Providence that never fails.
In today’s Second Reading taken from the Second Letter to the Corinthians we are called to live for Christ who died for us. There is no greater love than the love of one who dies for someone else. Jesus himself tells us of such love in his Final Discourse as given in the Gospel of John Chapter 15. The love of Christ is shown above all to us that He died for us. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, giving His precious life for each and every one of us so that we may live. Paul was deeply moved by this love of Christ. This special love kept Paul from living for himself. It led him to do great things for Christ and His people. Here we may ask, What is “the love of Christ?” Is it the love Christ has for us or the love that we have for Him? That answer is found in the actions of Saint Paul. The love that Jesus had for Paul is what made the apostle serve such tireless and unselfish way. The only reason that we love Jesus is that He first loved us. It is the love of Christ that moves us to keep going in the service of God. Christ does not love us just for the sake of loving us. He suffered and died for us because we are his own, made in his own image and likeness.
When Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples were stunned by the miracle. Although they personally knew who Jesus was, they were quite impressed by His power of controlling the elements. This miracle revealed the humanity and the divinity of the Lord Jesus. When Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat, the disciples witnessed His humanity. When Jesus spoke and the sea calmed, that was His divine nature. We all have the experiences in our life when we all wondered if the Lord Jesus is sleeping, if He hears are prayers, if He actually cares about our welfare. This is because we are week and lack in faith we easily cry that the Lord has left us alone and is not paying attention to our prayers, our pleas, our cries. But we know for sure he is close to us and will protect and guide us.
Twelfth Sunday Year B June 21, 2009
Job 38:1,8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41