Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:45-52
Optional Memorial of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest
We’ve all had days (or even weeks or years) when no matter how hard we work at it, things aren’t going our way. We prepared for a career, but there are no jobs; we hoped for a healthy child, but our baby is sick; we wanted to get married, but cannot find a spouse. Perhaps we are simply troubled by our lack of virtue after years of struggle to overcome that one sin or fault we repeat again and again. This kind of experience can threaten our stability and our sense of hope. We are pushed to the limit; we may feel weakened by the experience.
In today’s gospel the disciples represent this kind of struggle. They are caught on a stormy lake, “tossed about while rowing,” with “the wind against them.” Much as with inland lakes such as the Great Lakes, tempests can come up suddenly and can be as violent as if it were open ocean. It is the middle of the night, and the men are in the middle of the lake, making them feel desperate. The Lord is far away on shore. As far as they know, the only way they will survive this ordeal is by their own strength. So, they row on desperately fighting the wind.
Suddenly a change happens. At this low ebb, the disciples see a figure in the midst of the storm and cry out in fear. It is only when they cry out that the Lord (who “meant to pass by them”) speaks saying, “It is I! Do not be afraid!” He gets into the boat. He calms the wind. And the disciples are astounded.
This story is important for us, for we all must live with storms and trials, when the Lord seems far from our little boat and we are left to our own devices. Instead of crying out to the Lord in fear like the disciples did, we must cry out in hope. Instead of having hardened hearts as they did, we must have believing hearts that trust providence even when our senses may tell us, ‘This is the end!’
This gospel tells us to hope against hope, to see beyond the purely human, and to trust to the point of folly. That is the bedrock of faith. That is our high calling!
It is hard to trust God when things go wrong. How can I better have faith that God is loving me even when I am experiencing troubling circumstances?
Lord, at times I depend on myself and feel so alone. Help me see you, call out to you, and find your timely help when I am most in need.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Julie Paavola