Building Up Our Faith

Mark 4: 35-41

2 Sm 12:1-7,10-17/Ps 51:12-17

Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
(Mark 4:40)

When there’s a need to build our faith,

The storms in our life God allows;

So that we may appreciate

The calm of His love that follows.

On that day, as evening came, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Master, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)

Reflection

Our Lord had been healing and teaching by the lake of Galilee the whole day, and when it began to get dark, He and His disciples decided to go over to the other side of the lake to leave the multitudes. Wearied by the day’s chores, Jesus fell asleep on the boat’s stern. Then a storm suddenly arose, and big waves started to swamp their boat. In their fearful state, the disciples lost their faith.

Many of us have experienced such terror once or twice in our lives, riding in a boat or an airplane suddenly caught in turbulent weather. Usually in such situations, our reactions reflect the measure of our faith in God’s protection. The apostles who were with Jesus in that boat were terrified by the storm because of their lack of faith. And yet we know we must never be complacent, because peaceful circumstances can suddenly, without warning, turn into catastrophes. There are other storms that threaten the peace and stability of our land, our Church, our community, even our very families. We must never forget the storms of the past. We had seen stable markets suddenly collapse in bankruptcies and bank runs. We had witnessed the ship of our government almost shipwrecked with graft and corruption. We had endured our city being ravaged by armed strife in the ’80s, giving a twisted meaning to the word ‘salvage’. We have seen thousands of families of our overseas workers, drifting in the seas of uncertainty; our youth trapped in the vise of dangerous drugs; little children going hungry in our streets; pornography gone viral; and the moral values of many women threatened to sink into the bottom of the ocean of lust.

Most of these trials in life however end in victories. In fact, God only allows them to build our faith. They mold us to become mature Christians. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” St. James said, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Jesus said unless we become like little children we cannot be worthy of Him. Perhaps what our Lord meant was that we must trust God fully like a child. Because the child of God is never left to face a storm alone. Jesus is always there with us, with the same power to calm the waves that we are so fearful of. We only need to have the same trust that we used to have as children. He will see us through.

Lord, You are the master of all creation, all the forces of nature, the winds, waves, storms and earthquakes. How insignificant the little storms in our daily living must be for You. And yet how subtly You allow them to play their important purposes in our lives. And how quickly they disappear in the power of a quiet prayer. Thank You, Father, for keeping our lives on an even keel. Thank You for this stable boat that we are in, the BCBP. Amen.

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