1st Reading: Heb 11:1-2, 8-19
Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the Promised Land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God. By faith he received power to generate, even though he as past the normal age and Sarah herself was sterile for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore. All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name. He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
Gospel: Mk 4:35-41
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
He woke up and rebuked the wind: In the storm, the apostles who were experienced fishermen and presumably used to the storms, were helpless. They observed their boats struggling to withstand the force of the storm. They feared that they would perish. Realizing this, they woke Jesus up from his peaceful sleep. They were so concerned yet he appeared unconcerned that they were about to die. It was amazing that Jesus could sleep amidst that hullabaloo. However, how could he not yet he is almighty? There are storms in our lives that make us feel helpless. Such deny us sleep, give us migraines and keep us perplexed. In such moments, let us remember that Jesus is with us in the storm. Let us take some moments for reflections and prayers to wake him up (even though he sees all) and ask for his assistance. Even if the storm does not calm down as quickly as we want, he will help us to weather it.
Prayer – Lord, grant us calm amidst the storms of life. Amen
DO YOU NOT CARE THAT WE ARE PERISHING?: In our first reading today we are presented with a sad episode about human weakness. Our human greed and pride, leads us to sin, just it does for the mighty David. When we do so, we cannot avoid God’s punishment, and like David, we need to repent. As we do so, may we cry like the Psalmist asking God to create in us a pure heart. In the Gospel, we also see human panic, and lack of trust in God. In our struggles and worldly obstructions, we fail to see the Emmanuel (God with us). We falsely think God is asleep (Ps 121:4). We are reminded of the reality which is that God is awaiting our plea. The richest among us is he who has God journeying with him in life. Let us trust in God, He will take care that we do not perish. Let us cooperate with Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, please stay with us.
DON’T BE GULLIBLE: Simon Sebag Montefiore draws up the outline of a bloody story of Jerusalem in the book ‘JERUSALEM the biography’. This seems less shocking after Nathan’s words to David, “You are the Man, the sword shall never depart from your house” (2 Sam 12: 10). David, once the favoured one of God finds himself in the grip of evil. Contrary to David, Jesus in the Gospel, asserts his mastery over the forces of evil that rule the sea. Beside a baffled group of disciples, he stands tall affirming His divine power over Satan. The disciples are filled with awe and say, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” They appear numbed by fear of God close by. Meeting God at so close quarters is more than what they could take. Our case is not very different. Having to face God means having to go contrary to evil and being in front of his probing eyes. We meet God’s face among the needy and are called to respond as Jesus did. It does not serve any good that we become motionless in fear whenever we are meant to act in loving faith.
JESUS WAS IN THE STERN, ASLEEP ON A CUSHION: Can we believe that God is still in control when he seems far away! The truth in the story of the gospel today is, if the boat should go down because of the storm, Jesus would go down together with the disciples. They had no reason to complain: Teacher, do you not care! It is the truth in our own lives, when we suffer God suffers with us. Therefore, the words of Jesus to the wind are also uttered to us who panic: “Quiet! Be still!” In times of trouble, let us know that God is with us. Let our faith help us accept our own suffering. Let our faith help us see God in our lives even if He seems “asleep”.