The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
Today’s Gospel gives us a lesson on the meaning of faith. Very powerful was the question that Jesus raised to His supposed disciples: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Faith and fear, Jesus seems to tell us, do not mix.
In the first reading we have today, the author of the letter to the Hebrews very vividly defines faith. “Faith”, he says, “is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” And he gave sterling examples of it, one of which is the faith of Abraham who hoped against hope that he would yet bear a son by his barren wife Sarah, the same beloved son he was willing to sacrifice on the supposed word of God’s messenger.Abraham believed precisely because he did not know: “He went out knowing where he was to go.”
And why have faith? Why believe? Because we have seen better things and are no longer content with what this world offers, not even with the best that it can offer, and we know that we are merely strangers on this planet. We are thus seeking a homeland, a better homeland, a heavenly one. We believe in the truth of what we do not see physically in the vision of greater things, and for its sake we are willing to pay every price. That we resort to corrupt practices in everyday life indicates, then, little faith on our part. That we look but do not see, listen but do not hear. We do not trust God enough and so give in to crooked ways, harming others in the process and bringing havoc to our country.
In this supposedly only Catholic country in the Far East, corruption is pathetically rampant even in the smallest enterprises, and even in those places where we normally have a right not to expect it, in school and in churches. All these are signs of lack of genuine faith in the God who tells us: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” It is therefore, time for us to change, for us to radically transform and heal ourselves and our culture. It is high time that we feel disgust over what we have been doing to destroy our societies and our earth. These are the storms of life that we ourselves create.
And now we ask God to save us from the destruction wrought by no one else but us? “Why are you terrified? Do you not have faith?”