Scripture Reading for Today: Mark 6:45-52 (read it here)
In today’s Gospel there is no direct indication as to why after the feeding the 5,000 Jesus commands his disciples to get into the boat and go to Bethsaida. But Jesus gives the command, and the disciples obey it, apparently without question—despite the circumstances (it is late and there is a contrary wind) and their lack of understanding.
After Jesus takes leave of the disciples and the crowd, he goes up the mountain to pray. Often the Gospels portray Jesus spending long hours in prayer in his close relationship with God.
While the disciples are in the middle of the lake, a storm arises. And to be “on the sea” in a storm is to be subjected to wind and waves; it is to be in peril, to face uncertainty, and to lack control over one’s own fate and destination.
Although it is dark, Jesus sees his disciples laboring with great difficulty to drive their vessel forward.
Despite the fierce wind, Jesus continues to walk on the water toward the disciples’ boat—not all the way up to the boat, but rather near or alongside of it. Then, he seems to continue onward past the boat, as if to give them an opportunity to invite him to come aboard. Without that glad welcome on their part, he would have passed them by.
This is an important point. Jesus does not force himself upon us; he gives us an opportunity to welcome him aboard our life. And if we do not do this, he will pass us by.
By the little light there is, the disciples see, probably not far away from them, what looks like a human figure coming toward them. Of course, they know the mysterious form could not really be a human being, for human beings surely cannot walk on water.
Frightened, they think that they are seeing a ghost. The response of Jesus is immediate. In a friendly and affectionate manner, he begins to speak “with” them. Jesus therefore adds, “Do not be afraid.” The disciples must stop being alarmed; they should take courage and be filled with joy.
As Jesus now climbs into the boat to be with his disciples, his cheering presence banishes the last remnant of their panic.
And when the storm in their hearts abated, so “the wind died down.”
It is in the Eucharist that Jesus enters the boat of our life as we strive against the great forces of evil and temptation. He also gives us courage and calms our fears.
Let us invite Jesus to take possession of our mind, will, and body.
Inspired by Mary, let us also entrust ourselves totally to him.
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Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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