Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Below is the Gospel for this morning in the Daily Office. I wrote some reflections earlier, and thought I would share these with you. First, the Gospel from Mark:
47 When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. 48 When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. 49 But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. 51Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
The Word of the Lord.
It was evening. Darkness was falling on an eventful day. That afternoon Jesus, out of five loaves and two fish, feeds five thousand, with twelve baskets of leftovers to boot.
For some reason, Jesus stays back as the disciples secure a boat to cross the lake to the other side. Jesus is alone, standing on the shore, watching. He notices a wind that’s just come up causes them great distress. They’re straining to stay afloat.
Sounds like our present days, doesn’t it. We may feel alone, isolated, caught in a storm of adverse emotions and fears like we’ve never faced. You may wonder where the Lord is? How long will this last? Will life return as we knew it? And there’s Jesus, walking across stormy waters – the Sea of Galilee. Imagine the love in his heart for his closest, who also couldn’t see spiritually, yet – didn’t get what he’d just done – that food thing in the afternoon – and the many layers of meaning he gives beyond what our eyes see. Now they again don’t get him – a ghost? Jesus terrifies them. It’s hard to comprehend the divine presence when we are distraught, uncertain, terrified, shut.
Jesus speaks. Hold his words in your heart. “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” The winds immediately became still as he sat down. But their hearts were hardened. How could they receive him and the gifts he brings — in such a state of darkness, blind to a larger world reaching into their hearts through Jesus.
Reaching the other shore, people there recognized Jesus. Who do they see? Someone to fix their broken, diseased bodies – a healer? Word spreads. Soon the sick from all over flock to Jesus. Wherever he walks – there lie the sick, invalids, begging to touch the fringe, the hem, of his robe. What desperation. What faith. What healing power.
If they had doubt, they show up anyway. Friends and family bring their sick, believing and trusting he’ll do something. Fear was overcome by faith and hope. In Jesus they knew “It is I,” the Lord of the Universe, dwells.
Keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open. For in the storms of our lives, these very times, Jesus who brings healing love and hope then, is with us now. “Take heart; it is I, do not be afraid.” If you have moments when you realize you are afraid, maybe that’s God’s clue to look beyond the waves and winds, and see who calms your storms.
Blessings and peace, Fr. Steve