Thursday, January 27, 2011

He Has Come to His People

January 29, 2011
Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 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 4:37-40

O Lord my God,
Teach my heart this day where and how to see you,
Where and how to find you.
You have made me and remade me,
And you have bestowed on me
All the good things I possess,
And still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that
For which I was made.
Teach me to seek you,
For I cannot seek you
Unless you teach me,
Or find you
Unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire,
Let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
Let me love you when I find you.
St. Anselm

What exactly is faith? People have been asking that question for thousands of years.

St. Paul explains to the Hebrews and us that faith is firm and unyielding in the face of any obstacles that confront it. He goes on to use Old Testament stories to explain that. However, the notes to the New American Bible teach us that “Christians have even greater reason to remain firm in faith since they, unlike the Old Testament men and women of faith, have perceived the beginning of God's fulfillment of his messianic promises.”

The scene in the boat being tossed among the waters of the Sea of Galilee ex just one example of Jesus at work fulfilling those promises in real time.

What happens in the boat? The disciples get evidence of things unseen. The storm is certainly seen and experienced. Jesus, a fellow traveler in the boat, is certainly seen and experienced. However, when Jesus calms the storm right before their eyes and their fears, the disciples are beginning to realize exactly who they are following. With just a word, Jesus intervenes in the natural environment to protect those whom He loves.

What has been your boat experience? When have you been in a rocky situation and things were resolved? Why were you terrified? If the wind and the sea can obey Jesus, shall we – with our gift of free will – do anything less?