Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Stormy weather

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?” - Mark 4:39-40

After teaching the crowds, Jesus and the disciples get into a boat and cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus falls asleep in the stern of the boat, and as they cross, a fierce storm suddenly overtakes them and puts the disciples in a panic. Waves are crashing over the bow of the boat, and the disciples cry out to Jesus for help. (“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”) Now, with the benefit of hindsight, many people these days would see the disciples as begging for divine intervention from Jesus. In reality, the disciples were probably more perturbed that while they were perilously taking on water, Jesus was sound asleep. They were most likely saying, "Hey Jesus! Are you going to just lay there sleeping while we sink, or are you going to help us get rid of this water?" To their astonishment, he divinely intervenes and stops the storm. Not quite what they expected, but hey, it worked.

Nowadays we experience our own "storms" which overwhelm us, but unlike the disciples we are more likely to be astonished if Jesus does not divinely intervene the way we want. Our faith in Christ does not mean that he will intervene as we want, rather that we will rely on Christ to intervene as he knows best. Sometimes this can be a tough and painful lesson for us to learn, but that lesson will lead us to become less self-centered, and this in turn will allow us to grow in holiness. Is this not what God's plan for us is in the first place?

Sometimes when Jesus says, "Quiet! Be still!" he is not talking to the storm, but to us, calling on us to stop focusing on the storms of life around us and place our focus squarely on him. It is only then that he can effectively help us and calm the raging tempest.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.


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