I think that today’s gospel could be called “Getting to know you…” It’s early in the writings of Mark; Chapter four, to be exact. Those fishermen who have left their nets to follow Jesus are just now crossing the Sea of Galilee to get to another place where Jesus will preach. It’s a very placid scene. The water is calm; the Teacher is asleep in the boat and all seems as it should be.
Suddenly a violent wind storm comes up and threatens to capsize the boat. Jesus is still sleeping. Finally someone yells to him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?!” (That’s a rather strange question that presumes a faith in Jesus as healer that they otherwise do not seem to possess yet.) Next, Jesus acts in a way that one might expect later in the relationship but which at this point seems rather startling. He wakes up (one might think as if he was waiting for the challenge) and speaks directly to the wind (somewhat unusual, you must admit) saying “QUIET! BE STILL!” and miraculously, the wind calms.
The apostles must be totally flummoxed by that time, as Jesus throws a challenge at them. “Why were you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” What would you have said in reply to that question? I don’t see the possibility of any reasonable response. Rather, I am certain I would have been “in the same boat” as the apostles, wondering, “Who is this whom even the wind and the sea obey?”)
The story ends with a beautiful saying, one that I saw many years ago on a “holy card” and recall as often as I am in the presence of a body of water. It says that He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze and brought them to their desired haven. Each time that comes to mind, I ask myself the state of my faith. Do I trust that I will be given the strength to come through the storms of life? Am I feeling able? Is my faith in need of a boost, a sign that I will be taken care of so that I need not be “terrified” by circumstances? Happily, I am usually able to respond in the affirmative, trusting that the waters will not drown me but rather will lead me to that “desired haven” where God awaits.