Dear Followers of Jesus,
In Mark 4: 35-41, we have the privilege of entering a scene with Jesus in a boat loaded with fearful disciples. In the center of a storm, they fear for their lives and are frustrated with Jesus who is asleep. In the center of the chaos, the presence of Jesus is calm and trusting.
I remember some years ago I had lunch with Fr. Clem (Fr. Leroy Clementich, CSC) when I served in Portland, Oregon. We had served together here at Sacred Heart. I remember talking on and on about some crazy thing I was disturbed about. He listened patiently. Then he turned to me at the lunch counter and said, “Oh, Ron, be at peace. Ron, Ron, just be at peace.”
His kindness runs through my veins all these years later. If my faith was true and lasting, peace would flow. Within this gospel text, I find the tale of Fr. Clem and I sitting close together on stools in a diner in downtown Portland. My fret could not shake his faith; my worry could not disturb his peace. I realized how often I am tied to such fear outside of my own life rather than gazing upon the face of Jesus curled up in the corner of my heart.
This gospel is remedy for the fear that rocks all of our boats. The disciples were beside themselves with anxiety. They could do nothing about the storm but ride the waves. The chaos did not even awaken Jesus. We all face much fear in our daily lives. However, I wonder if we ever gaze underneath our fear and find the person of Jesus who has been guiding us all along.
Sometimes faith is seen as adhering to a set of guidelines that make us prideful and sets us apart. Faith is not something we memorize, or think is written in stone. Faith is utter trust in God. Faith is absolute belief that all will be well by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This trust is not blind, but deeply rooted in our lives of intelligence and reality. The disciples learned in this situation that they could do little but ride the waves of the storm. They had to work the best they could to be safe, and in the end, they realized Jesus does not keep them from the storm, but is in the center of the storm all along. This is crucial to our lives of faith.
The disciples deepened their wisdom in the boat in this scene of the gospel. We also must learn what to fight for, what to worry about and how to serve in the various storms that rock us on a daily basis. In the end, we have very little control over many of the storms that shake us up. Faith is not about relying on Jesus to keep the storms of doubt, grief, and hopelessness away, but to trust that he is within our hearts in every moment of life.
Let us cast our worries on the Savior. Let us take our place among those who have believed before us, and even among the great mystics, that all will be well. The divine question that floats to the top of this gospel is so important in how we live and how we believe, “Why are you terrified?” This challenging question remains a lifeline in the chaos that gets us down on a daily basis.
I pray we may listen to Jesus and to Fr. Clem. “Ron, Ron, just be at peace.”
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor