“On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them ‘Let us cross to the other side.’” Earlier that same day, Jesus taught the crowds and his disciples gathered at the lakeshore, Mark’s Gospel says. His words were wise and reassuring. Words you could set the course of your life on.
Yet, as he and his disciples sailed onto the Sea of Galilee “ a violent squall came up, waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern asleep on a cushion.” They were afraid they were going to drown, and Jesus in the stern of the boat seemed asleep, unaware of their fears.
A good image of what our lives can be, isn’t it? The words of faith can bring such strength and encouragement. “Peace be with you.” “I am the vine, you are the branches.” “I’m with you all days.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
Then, the storms come; unexpectedly, powerfully, with frightening suddenness sometimes, turning our lives upside down. Overwhelmed by life’s quick tragedies and doubts, we forget God’s assurances. Like Jesus in the boat, God seems asleep, unaware of our experience.
Mark’s gospel is good to reflect on today in a raging pandemic, political and economic storms, the planet endangered by wild seas and changing weather.
“The winds and the sea obey him,” our gospel today reminds us. God is for stormy times as well as fair. He doesn’t want us to perish. “Have faith,” he says, “I’m with you.” God’s with us in storms.