“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mk 4:40)

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

JOB 38:1, 8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said: Who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!

2 CORINTHIANS 5:14-17

Brothers and sisters: The love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

MARK 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. 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?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

It began as an ordinary day during Jesus’ public ministry. He was teaching by the lake. He sat on a boat and preached and the crowd stood along the shore. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples crossed by boat to the other side. During the crossing, a big storm arose, the waves were so high that the boat was swamped. Jesus was asleep in the stern.

The disciples were fearful that they would perish, so they sought help from Jesus who “woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm” (Mk 4:39). Seeing this, the disciples were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41).

Why are the disciples in awe when Jesus calms the wind and the sea? After all, they have witnessed him performing miracles, curing the sick and driving out demons. This is because Jesus’ authority over nature is a manifestation of his divinity to his disciples who have been taught by Scriptures that only God has the power to calm a raging sea. (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament P 73).

In this Sunday’s first reading, we hear from God’s discourse to Job who struggles to understand the tragedy that befalls him out of the blue, that God is the One who has power over nature. God said, “I will question you, and you tell me the answers!” (Job 38:3). He asked Job, among other things, “Who shut in the sea with doors” and who said, “[H]ere shall your proud waves be stopped?” (Job 38: 8,11). Job answered, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered” (Job 42:2). In this Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm, the Psalmist give thanks to the Lord who “brought them out of their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed” (Ps 107: 28-29).

The episode of the calming of the sea also signifies the struggles of Christian life. While the world is plagued by the pandemic and everyone is living in unpredictable and difficult times, it adds to the helplessness when we hear about Christians being persecuted in many places. It is hard to imagine that while technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, people are living better lives, yet religious freedom is still not a right for many in this modern day and age. Even for us who are blessed to live in religious freedom, our lives can be full of dangerous storms, attacks from evil forces and temptations of the flesh. These spiritual assaults may awake so that we may become aware of our own helplessness. We are afraid, we may lose our way and fall. To reinforce our faith and to overcome our weaknesses, we must learn to trust in Christ daily, since He alone can restrain these forces and bring us to the safe haven of salvation (Ref. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament P73).

To this end, St. Paul reminds us in the second reading that we the faithful should “live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them” (2 Corinthians 5:15). In a new life of grace, our lives are “swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life”, “to serve in the communion of the Church … to receive the Sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church” (CCC 655, 1269).

By practicing the teachings of the Church, may we be enabled to overcome the tendency to live for ourselves but for Jesus our Redeemer.

Posted: June 20, 2021

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


Other Sunday Reflections

Into the Wild
As the Israelites learn to trust God throughout their journey in the wilderness, we, too, must journey through the wilderness of our heart to the doorstep of our loving God,… Continue Reading >
God Speaks Only One Word in the Whole Bible
And when the long-anticipated Christ event finally arrives, it often catches us completely by surprise: it comes with a theological significance and finality no scriptural readers could have expected. Continue Reading >
Having Compassion on Yourself and Others
When I was 25, volunteering at St. Joseph’s Medical Centre in New York, I always finished my days exhausted. When driving back to the seminary with Guillermo, he was always… Continue Reading >