Scripture Reading Reflection
By Fr. Andrew Kelly
TWELFTH SUNDAY ORDINAL TIME – JUNE 21, 2015
(Editor’s note: this reflection appeared previously in The Catholic Messenger. It is being repeated at the request of Fr. Kelly).
The faith community of Mark’s Gospel was not unlike many of today’s faith communities. There were problems with mission failures, persecutions and apathetic believers slowly drifting away.
Whoever wrote the Gospel remembered a story of the disciples and the sleeping Jesus in a boat being tossed about during a very dangerous storm at sea.
Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 4:35-41) reminds today’s believers that the sleeping Jesus is not an absent Jesus. Sleep is the symbolic sign of absolute confident trust that God will never abandon just as God never abandoned Jesus in death. Awake or asleep, Jesus is always present in the boat no matter how badly being battered.
With centuries-old panic, faith communities still scream at the sleeping Jesus: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” With centuries-old faithfulness, Jesus awakens and says: ‘“Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.”
In the boat the disciples asked: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” The “who” inquired about is still present today. In light of this, today’s faith communities now have to answer Jesus’ boat questions: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)