Whenever you read anything in the Gospels, remember the last line of the Gospel of John. John is the last gospel written and today’s passage comes from Mark, the first Gospel written.
The last line in John says that Jesus did and said so many things that if they were all written down all the books in the world would not be able to contain it all.
So anytime you have any Gospel passage, it is important to ask why is this story here as opposed to it being one of the many that were never written down.
One answer is that story is helping the community deal with a problem and in this case, it is the problem of fear. Remember fear is the first emotion expressed by Adam after the fall. Fear is the fruit of the fall and it is a destructive emotion that as we have seen over the past year can be used to motivate people to do anything.
Remember this passage is from first-century Rome. The Jews consider the Christians a heretical cult and the Romans consider them unlawful worshippers of a foreign deity. They are not popular. However, they are finding truth with Christ that they can find nowhere else.
There are times that things are going wrong, some of the people are being martyred or have been martyred and others are worried about how they are going to be treated by friends and relatives. They may lose all because they embraced Christ. They are encountering on a spiritual, social, political, and economic level their own storms.
They see today’s Gospel story and suddenly they are confronted with those powerful words of Jesus: “Why are you afraid?”
This is a powerful message reminding them who they believe Him to be.
The First reading from Job explains that in the Jewish world they understood there was one God and he is the creator, he is the master of all that is around them. There are not many gods such as what you see in the pagan world. You are not going to hear stories of people being subject to the god Poseidon’s battle with the god Sol they are understanding that there is one God and he is the creator of the universe. This is illustrated powerfully in Jesus silencing the storm.
First, he is asleep in the stern which suffers the worst effects from bad weather. Remember this is an open boat and so you can imagine the sea is splashing over him. Yet, he sleeps.
When he literally shuts off the storm he demonstrates to the apostles that he commands nature to do as he says.
In a way, this lesson is the most important for them to learn because it is going to be something they are going to draw upon when things get tough.
When they begin to evangelize they will be dealing with the antagonism of the Temple authorities, the Roman Authorities, and their own families. However, many times in the new and even in the Old Testament that message of trusting in God is a key message. It is central to Christianity.
Some people believe that their life should be a smooth journey once they return to their faith and get shocked and even discouraged when things go wrong and sometimes seriously wrong.
The saints always talked about all being grace and that all will be well. St. Paul commanded us to rejoice in the Lord always. However, that can be more easily said than done.
The biggest problem is, unlike Jesus, the apostles and even we do not see what is coming directly. We may have a glimpse but we have to trust Jesus to fully understand and to persevere.
So, when you see Jesus just shutting off the storm as we continue through our own storms that can be difficult. So, Lord, why did you not just shut off my storm. I want you to look at what is not in the Gospel. What happened the next time they were out fishing and they hit a storm and Jesus was with them. They obviously knew that all would be well. That ultimately they would survive or at the end of their lives, they would encounter Christ personally.
All our difficulties can be learning experiences for us to teach us for the challenges to come. Or sometimes you are in the situation you are in because you are the one who has gone through the difficulties and have the skill to deal with it. This is not your boss talking it is God talking about choosing you from your experience.
It can be difficult going through the storm and even terrifying but the solution is to draw closer to Christ and let it bring you closer. The other solution is to walk away and go live your life far from Christ in the secular world. There you might find some form of temporary peace. However, do not forget the words of St. Teresa of Avila what a stupid Idea it is for there to be a treasure at the end of a road and that road not to be filled with obstacles, thieves, and marauders. Those who continue on the road become the victors and they are even more victorious if others see their perseverance and continue.