WHY ARE YOU TERRIFIED? SAILING WITH THE SAVIOR IN THE STORMY SEA! REFLECTION FOR THE 12TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

JESUS CALMS THE STORM - Anglican Children Ministry Nigeria

                                              

The safety of every sailing boat has a lot to do with the mastery of the sailor. However, when the elements unleash their severe sides, like in the case of windstorms, even the best sailor would be helpless and could need some form of assistance to get through.

Can you imagine sailing in a boat, and right there in the middle of the sea, comes a strong windstorm with no form of assistance in view?

The above captures the experience of the disciples of Jesus Christ while crossing over to the other side of the sea of Galilee (Gerasene) after the parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:35-41). The surprising thing is that Jesus was in the boat with them, and he was even sleeping while the storm was raging.

The disciples could have tried to handle the boat amid the storm, but they could not. So, coming to Jesus and waking him up, they asked if he does not care that they were perishing because he was sleeping and not freaking out like them.

Our Lord Jesus rising from that “sleep,” rebuked the wind, saying: “Quiet, be still!” Immediately the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And turning to the disciples, he asked, “why are you terrified! Do you not yet have faith?” In amazement, the disciples exclaim, “Who then is this whom the wind and sea obey?”

Lessons from the Storm and the Sleep of Jesus  

Jesus and his disciples were heading to the town of Gerasene, on the other side, when the windstorm stuck halfway. The mission was to liberate a man possessed by a legion of demons. 

On the way to accomplish this mission, the storm showed up. The quick lesson is that whenever there is an important mission, expect an opposing storm. Next, the disciples heard lots of parables about faith which concluded with the mustard seed analogy. Now, the storm is serving to take their faith on a test drive. Quick lesson, you must defend your faith through trials.

There are many questions about the sleep of Jesus. Could it be that he was a deep sleeper that he did not notice the storm? No, instead, we learn from various accounts that Jesus kept awake most times praying. Recall that during the Gethsemane experience, Jesus said to Peter and others, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?” (Matt. 26:40).

On the other hand, the sleep of Jesus was not that he cared less about what was going on. Jesus was sleeping to demonstrate to his disciples the right posture they need to take when a storm arises in their lives. Sleeping through the storm shows faith and trust in the God who is the Lord of the storm.

A further lesson. Despite their lack of faith, the disciples teach us the need to run to the Lord when we face any storm in our lives. However, the approach should be faith-inspired and submission to God’s unfailing power to save.

Jesus in the boat: An image of a Father in the Family

The narrative of Jesus in the stormy boat comes on a Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day, and we can find some enriching connections. The presence of Jesus in the boat describes one of the functions of a father, namely is availability 

There is nothing as comforting as the physical presence of a father in the family. In our career-driven human society, some people erroneously think that taking care of the family is about providing money and other provisions.

Presence is essential for bonding and progress in the family; absent fathers are a disaster to child upbringing. On the strength of presence, the father can confront the variety of storms that may face the family. Imagine if Jesus were not with the disciples in the boat, the disciples would have perished.

Notice that in the parable, Jesus first rebuked the storm before cautioning the disciples. We see here another important lesson for fathers when something is attacking from the outside. Often some overlook the issue and start criticizing the members of the family. The father should protect the family but would not forget to give reasonable caution.

A father is beyond the capability of having a child. Fatherhood is not a name; it is a functional vocation that includes profound care, guidance, and protection. So, you do not need to have a child to become a father. Any man who excels in those capabilities is a father, and those who fail do not merit the name; I am sorry.  

Moving Forward! 

There is no life without a storm. A storm could be those things you do not wish happen in your life, but you see them coming anyways. Life is full of storms; however, we shall not be like the disciples by being terrified, which would not solve anything.

The right attitude is to approach the Lord, who is always with you, and relax like Jesus to get enough sleep because the Lord of the storm is there. You need to sleep for God to be awake for you. Psalm (127:1b) says, “unless the Lord watches over the city in vain do watchmen keep vigil.”  

God bless you!

Fr. Bonnie

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