Saturday, January 30, 2016


David grew very angry with that man and said to him: “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death! He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold because he has done this and has had no pity.” 2 Samuel 5-6

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?”  Mark 4:38-40


Be still.
Be still and know.
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Actions have consequences.  David learns the hard way when Nathan presents a test case. In the test, a powerful man takes advantage of his poor, helpless neighbor. Hearing the story, David is outraged and denounces the rich man—thus unwittingly pronouncing judgment on himself. “You are the [rich] man,” Nathan reveals.  Perhaps David should have learned from the wind and the stormy seas in today’s Good News.  Perhaps he should have been more humble and not passed judgement on his neighbor.  But he did and he fell right into Nathan’s rhetorical trap.

Just like David sentences the hypothetical rich man to pay restitution four times over for what he has done (“He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold”), David will pay for his wanton adultery with the deaths of four of his sons.  The notes in the New American Bible teach us (remind us) what happens:  David’s judgment foreshadows the deaths of four of his own sons: the child born of his adulterous union with Bathsheba; Amnon (13:2829); Absalom (18:1519:1); and Adonijah (1 Kgs 2:2425).[i]

The disciples also learn that actions have consequences.  When they fear for their lives in the storm, Jesus commands the wind and the waves to be quiet.  Jesus not only rebukes nature, but he also rebukes his companions for expressing their lack of faith. Yet who among the loyal readers of Your Daily Tripod would not be afraid if we were in that boat, too?    

Jesus also sees how his actions have consequences.  The combination of silencing the demons in Mark 1 and calming the seas and storms here, are signs of Jesus’ power and presence.  It begins to reveal the Epiphany to his followers:  Who is this itinerant preacher?  For even though Jesus commands the people he heals to tell no one about his actions, they cannot keep from singing Jesus all the way to Good Friday. Yet it was the path he was on from the Annunciation. Indeed from when Adam took a bite at the apple.

If the winds and the seas and the demons obey Jesus, who are we to disobey?  Obedience and humility are the preferred actions and dispositions.

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie website presents a reflection by Sr. Joan Chittister on today’s second step of humility passage from the Rule of St. Benedict: 
The question, of course, is how do we recognize the Will of God? How do we tell the will of God from our own? How do we know when to resist the tide and confront the opposition and when to embrace the pain and accept the bitterness because "God wills it for us." The answer lies in the fact that the Jesus who said "I have come not to do my own will but the will of the One who sent me" is also the Jesus who prayed in Gethsemane, "Let this chalice pass from me:" The will of God for us is what remains of a situation after we try without stint and pray without ceasing to change it.[ii]

How do we know when to resist the tide of human opinion and act according to the will of God?  How do we know when to have faith that will get us through any storm?  How do we know God?  Maybe we have to get in the boat with him when the storms approach.

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