June 20, 2021; Mk 4:35-41; 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s gospel, the disciples are in real danger. They are caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Waves are breaking over the side of the boat and it is filling up with water. They are terrified. But they are not alone because Jesus is in the boat with them. He is asleep on a cushion. So all they need to do is shout out, “Master,do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus wakes up and stills the storm. Problem solved. The disciples are safe. Now when we hear this story we might envy the easy access that the disciples have to Jesus. When they need him, he is there. But no story of the scriptures is just telling us about the past. Every story is telling us something about ourselves, and this story is telling us that Jesus is always with us, especially in our times of need.
This truth is captured most beautifully by the writer Frederick Buechner. Here are his comments on this miracle story: “Christ sleeps in the deepest selves of all of us. And whatever we do in whatever time we have left, wherever we go, may we in whatever way we can, call on him, as the fishermen did in their boat, call on him to come awake within us and to give us courage, to give us hope, to show each one of us our way. May he be with us especially when the winds go mad and the waves run wild, as they will for all of us before we are done, so that even in their midst we may find peace, even in their midst we may find him.”
Buechner is saying that Christ is always with us, asleep in our deepest selves. So, like the disciples, all we need to do is cry out to him, and he will give us courage and hope and direction. When things are going well we might not notice that Christ is slumbering in our hearts. But that does not mean he is absent. He is ready to rise up and save us. So when our life is shaken by death or disease, when our marriage collapses or a friend turns on us, when an emptiness grabs hold of us and will not let us go, when our dreams for the future dissolve before our eyes, Christ is not absent. He is waiting for us to call out to him.
So we do not need to be envious of the disciples. Jesus accompanies us as he accompanied them. And when the winds go mad and the waves run wild, all we need to do is to cry out, and he will awake.