Jesus dies for us so that we may live for him and in him. To live so means to go through trials and thus get to be a new creation.
Jesus has been teaching the crowds with parables. One lesson is about trust in God who carries out fully what starts out, even if small, with his inspiration. But do not his disciples in particular need testing, even trials, to see if they really get it?
And as if the “terror of the night” (Ps 91, 5) were not enough, Jesus tells his disciples, “Let us cross to the other side.” Hence, they make the crossing toward a strange, new, place.
But as it turns out, there are trials due to the crossing, not due to the strange world. For all of a sudden, their boat is at the mercy of a squall. It raises up the waves so that they break over the boat, and it starts to fill up with water.
Jesus, all the while, is in the stern, asleep on a cushion. For sleep comes at once to those who trust in God (Ps 4, 8). The disciples, for their part, afraid that they will drown, wake up the Teacher. They suggest that he really does not care. It seems that they cannot believe that they are in dire straits.
To believe in Christ is to go through trials for him (Phil 1, 29).
But Jesus does not mind what the disciples have said to him. He just gets up, rebukes the wind, and tells the sea to be quiet and still. The unclean spirits obeyed him (Mk 1, 27), so too do the wind and the waves. And then, he suggests, in turn, that the cowardice of the disciples shows that they still do not have faith.
Faith, yes, is crucial. But faith is not a tranquilizer that leaves us passive, apathetic, mediocre, lukewarm. Jesus makes clear that we have to face head on, with him, tough times.
Faith comforts us, but it gives us strength not so that we may stay lying down. Rather, so that we may get up and face the trials that turn up. So that we may dare cross to the other side that we do not know. We cannot be like the snails that are afraid of what is outside their shells (SV.EN XII:81). Through faith, yes, we can bear trials; they cannot take us away from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8, 37. 39). And we will get to be a new creation.
Lord Jesus, do not leave us in our lack of faith and strength. Grant that we do not falter in the face of trials.
20 June 2021
12th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Job 38, 1. 8-11; 2 Cor 5, 14-17; Mk 4, 35-41