|MARK 4:35-41 By Fr Dexter Brereton, C.S.Sp - Jun 21|
|2009 - Gospel Meditation|
|Thursday, 18 June 2009 14:16|
In the Gospel meditation this weekend we celebrate our faith in Jesus who models for us, serenity in the face of the frightening experiences or storms of life. For this reading which tells of a deep experience between Jesus and his disciples upon the lake, we would do well to pay attention to small details. Not a word of the reading from Mark’s Gospel is wasted.
The reading begins “with the coming of evening.” This is a significant phrase. They were at the point of nightfall. For the ancients, the night was an ambivalent reality. Night could be as fearful as death, yet night was also the time of deliverance (as with the Passover story). Night was the time when people could no longer work; it was a time of fear and evil. Here we may take the “coming of evening” as signifying an entry into a time of uncertainty.
In this period of darkness the disciples of Jesus set out to the other side of the lake and while on the journey “it began to blow a gale…so that the boat was almost swamped.” We can easily identify with their sense of terror. They cry to Jesus with the words of a prayer which many of us have made at one time or another: “Master, do you not care? We are going down!” Who are the people “going down” today? Who are those having “waves breaking into the boat so that they are almost swamped?”
We’ve met them many times: people facing an acute financial crisis, parents dealing with a child in the grips of addiction, persons facing grave medical problems like cancer or AIDS, persons with legal problems, spouses whose marriages seem at the point of dissolution.
In contrast to the panic of the disciples, Jesus “was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep.” There are people, who, like Jesus, teach us the art of serenity in the midst of the storm. Père William Smarth was such a person for me in Haiti.
He lived in our Spiritan seminary in the middle of a slum or quartier populaire near the centre of Port-au-Prince. His very presence was an oasis of calm, which itself was very remarkable. Often, on my way to Port-au-Prince, the roads would be blocked with burning debris and protestors as the political situation in the country deteriorated.
The streets of the neighbourhood where William lived themselves would also be blocked. In the midst of all this, William was a man of warmth, hospitality and prayer. He was also a scholar and set to work studying even though all around him was chaos. This is the image that is evoked by Mark’s description of Jesus with his head on a cushion asleep.
Sometimes we may feel that these people are unreasonably disconnected from what is happening around them, or even worse, apathetic. Like the disciples we wish to shout to them “Master, do you not care? We are going down!” In their calm, they seem unrealistic. They seem unrealistic because unlike us, they do not give in to the same sense of panic and urgency that we have.
Today as we reflect on this incident with Jesus on the Lake, I have the impression that we need such people among us today. We need people who know when to disconnect from the raging storm of problems that we face here in T&T. They give us the very important reminder that we are much more than the problems which afflict us.
Lord we thank you for all your servants who teach us that we are more than the gale, the many problems raging around us. We thank you for people who show us how to trust deeply in your divine providence since in the middle of the storm we find them in the stern, their head on the cushion, asleep.
Forgive us for the times when, in our panic, we reproach you for not caring and we cry out “Master, do you not care? We (or I am) are going down!”
Lord give us a sense of trust as we make the journey of life to the other side. We are submerged in panic every time we meet serious challenges. We pray for all those on the journey with us, and who, like us may be tempted to panic:, couples after their first quarrel, a public official after his first fall, a manager who has failed in his or her first project. We always feel that it is the “end” that we are “going down.” Save us from discouragement O Lord and help us to trust, since you and you alone know the future.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources