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“On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them ‘Let us cross to the other side.’” Earlier that same day, according to Mark’s gospel, Jesus taught the crowds and his disciples gathered at the lakeshore. They were delighted as he spoke, so reassuring, wise and true were his words. You could set the course of your life on him.
Yet, as he and his disciples sailed onto the Sea of Galilee “ 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.”
Their delight suddenly changed into fear; they were going to drown! And it seemed Jesus in the stern of the boat asleep wasn’t even aware of their fears.
A good image of what our lives can be, isn’t it? Jesus’ words 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 doubts and life’s quick tragedies, we forget all of God’s assurances. Like Jesus in the boat, God seems asleep, absent from our experience.
Good gospel to reflect on as we consider Pope Francis’ dire warnings about our endangered planet, and the church shootings in South Carolina.
Yet “the winds and the sea obey him,” this gospel 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 no matter what.” God’s with us when storms come.