Drowning Our Fears
Were you there when the lights went out? Almost everyone has had the experience of being in the dark without power. This is when we experience the loss of human control and power. This experience is depicted and a major theme for the readings this weekend. The Book of Job and the Gospel of Mark articulate a God, who speaks in the midst of turmoil, which St. Paul reminds the Church at Corinth that the love of Christ surrounds us. Despite that, there are concerns with regard to the Gospel story. “Teacher, do you not care that we are going to drown”. For us, this is really our question that we raise amid the ship wreck of our lives and of those we love. Is God asleep when we need Divine Presence the most? To answer those questions we must look again at situation the disciples find themselves in. The issue is not simply that Jesus calms the seas, but that the disciples come to understand the power of faith and trust in God, even in the midst of turmoil, stress and questioning what’s next.
Reflect on how you would respond to this invitation. You are invited to go on a bus trip to an unknown destination. The trip will begin early in the morning and end in the late evening. Travelers, young and old are invited. Bring nothing with you but identification and enough money to purchase a moderate priced nourishing meal. Don’t forget your trust!
Let’s get back to the disciples and their situation which is filled with decisions and questioning. We find them getting tossed around in a boat. You can imagine them thinking what gave them the confidence to go out on the lake. What did they trust in? They had forgotten that each time we set out on a journey it involves an act of trust. When hazards come up, we need to trust that we can overcome them to reach our destination. What most people wonder about in this story is that Jesus is sleeping, when everyone else is being terrorized. It would be wrong to think of Jesus here as removed from ordinary human cares and fears. Rather, Jesus is able to see the storm in a different light. He lives his life as one of constant trust in his heavenly Father. This is why he asks his disciples why they had no faith. In his death on the Cross, Jesus takes are fears upon himself, and restores us to a relationship of trust in his Father. This does not mean that we are not going to have fears, but it enables us to live our lives with the assurance that the faith will raise up, with his Son those who trust in him. We have a choice. We can be like the disciples setting out in a boat. We can become oblivious to the fragility of life, to the risks that surrounds us. When something happens that throws us off balance, we can become overwhelmed by fear. All we took for granted seems threatened. We can venture away from the disciples and place all of our trust in God. This can be hard, and we realize that we need help.
It is Jesus who enables us by his example and witness to trust in his Father. He brings us the hope of resolution, which leads to new life. Jesus is right here with us and will not leave our side. Remember what St. Paul told the Corinthians. The love of Christ impels us. We are the new creation in Jesus, which sees all things with the mind of Christ, who speaks out of a whirlwind of trust and faith with the message that the old things have passed away, and bold new things have come. The timidity that grips humanity by the neck and keeps it gasping for breath, need not lay claim on us. It is our sins that have been drowned, not God’s beloved humanity.