January 31, 2015

The Gospel Today

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“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?”
Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong):

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?”

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