Wednesday, August 8, 2018
That day when evening came, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along. There were also other boats. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” – Mark 4:35-41
Like the disciples themselves, many people consider this a story about Christ calming the stormy waters. But I am one who believes it is a story about the quality of faith that is not based on fear. And why do I think this?
I see one of those details of emphasis in the beginning of the story. The story requires the detail that Christ was sleeping on a cushion in the stern of the boat. And while He was sleeping, the disciples were becoming fearfully distressed. The storm was raging, the wind was howling, the waters were churning, the boat was shaking, yet Christ was sleeping. The disciples, most of whom were well-experienced fishermen on these Galilean waters, were frightened, their souls churning with apprehension and panic. So they waken Jesus in desperate hope that He will do “something” to save them. So Jesus gets up and calms the storm. Jesus then turns to His disciples and asks them a soul-searching question …”Why are you fellows afraid? Especially you fishermen. Surely you have survived storms such as this. Have you no faith?” But faith in what or whom? Of course, the first answer is the watchful care of God, but I think that also He may be referring to their faith in themselves and in their experience.
Yet … like so many people … they seem to miss the lesson in the moment … for when they considered the power of Christ to settle the storm, it reads “and they were terrified” of such power found in Christ. Fear replacing fear … but still no insight into the ways of faith.
Faith is often defined as trust … and it is, but I think that faith can only be defined as confidence. And as I have both experienced and now still observe … so much of Christianity is still filled with fearful distress.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz