Saturday of the 3rd Week of the Year

Mk 4:35-41

The Calming of a Storm at Sea

I don’t know if you already hear this story. The story goes this way. There was a little girl and her father who were crossing a foot bridge. The father asked her to hold on to him but she asked him to hold her hand instead. The father asked her what the difference was. The little girl answered: “If I hold your hand, I might let go but if you hold my hand, whatever happens, I know you will never let go of me.”

God holds us tightly in His hands, despite the loose grip of our feeble faith.

In relation to this story, Jesus in today’s gospel is sleeping while their boat is tossed by the storm in the sea. His disciples are afraid of the situation. They are afraid for their lives even though their Lord Jesus is with them in the boat. This situation reveals to us that His disciples have sleeping faith in Him. They are asleep to Christ while He is present to them in their hour of need. Nowadays, the Lord is ever present to us.  And in our time of testing He asks the same question: Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?  Do we recognize the Lord’s presence in us, especially when we meet the storms of adversity, sorrow and temptation?

Today we have also a dead faith (James 2:20) and not only sleeping faith. Dead faith is the kind of faith which would lead, for example, a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions on it, he says: ‘I’m sure they’re correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache, if I just take it.’ But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn’t lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still he won’t take it. That’s dead faith.

How can we fight fear with faith?  To fight fear with faith, we should be mature in our faith too. In a national study of Protestant churches done in America in 1990, Peter Benson and Carolyn Eklin surveyed hundreds of people and distilled seven characteristics of a mature faith. You may not agree with everything on their list, but it’s still instructive to look at their conclusions. They were the following:

  1. Trusts in God’s saving grace and believes firmly in the humanity and divinity of Jesus.
  2. Experiences a sense of personal well-being, security, and peace.
  3. Integrates faith and life, seeing work, family, social relationships and political choices as part of one’s religious life.
  4. Seeks spiritual growth through study, reflection, prayer, discussion with others.
  5. Seeks to be part of a community of believers who give witness to their faith and support and nourish one another.
  6. Holds life-affirming values, including commitment to racial and gender equality, affirmation of cultural diversity and a personal sense of responsibility for the welfare of others.
  7. Serves humanity, consistently and passionately, through acts of love and justice.

And so let us make our faith mature and then continue fighting our fear with faith until the end. Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord is there with the same reassuring message:  “It is I, do not be afraid.”

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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