Ye of little faith

So, let’s replay the events of today’s gospel.
It has been a busy week. First there was the curing of the Centurion’s Servant. He came running up to Jesus and said, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Those were some powerful words to come out of the mouth of a Roman Centurion.
And then there was the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. “Jesus entered the house of Peter and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.” If I remember correctly that scene was in an early episode of “The Chosen” and when Jesus cured her, she did what any well respecting mother in law would do, she rushed them out of her kitchen and started preparing a meal.
It was no wonder that once word got out about these and other miracles, Jesus was going to be swarmed with people. So, Jesus tell His disciples to board a nearby boat and row to the other side of the lake. And, understandably once in the boat Jesus lays down and fall asleep.
Up until this point the stories are easy to comprehend. There are elements of symbolism and second meanings but nothing overly deep. The next part is the opposite.
The winds pick up and the boat begins to take on water. These are fishermen and were familiar with the particulars of the lake but apparently it was so violent that they were terrified. “They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
Not too long I was at a retreat where these boat stories were discussed. In one interpretation the water is said to symbolizes life and death. To escape the pressings and distractions of the crowds they travel over the water to safety. The water was going to carry them to a new life. And, as the water was cascading over the gunnels and into the boat, death was covering Jesus who, once awoken, sat up and, “He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.”
The first question has to be, “why did they wake up Jesus?” Was it that they had become so accustomed to His leadership that they needed his assurances at that moment? And the second question has to be, why was Jesus so angry? He accuses them of having little faith but isn’t that exactly what they placed in Jesus? They did not “man the pumps” they turned to our Lord.
During the reading from this past Sunday and yesterday there was an interesting line that always seems to trouble people. When asked if a prospective follower could go home to bury a dead father, Jesus replies, ““Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Pretty harsh stuff. Between a couple of these readings there seems to a little regard for things of this earth. And perhaps that is the point. It is almost as if you and a friend were taking two different bike paths to get to the same point. You would not make an overly big deal about your separation, after all you are both heading in the same direction and will see each other face to face in just a few minutes.
Perhaps there is a similar analogy for today’s gospel reading. What if Jesus was not chastising them for being worried about the storm but for doubting their everlasting life. It does seem a little bit extreme to question their faith for waking him up in a storm, but are they being too concerned about things of this world?
Today’s gospel ends with, “The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” Here again, what if it is not the wind and the seas over which Jesus enjoys control, it is life and death. Eternal life and death. Just a few short weeks from this event, per the chapters of the bible, these same disciples would see our Lord and Savior engulfed by the pain and suffering of His crucifixion. And after His resurrection He will once again challenge them on their meager faith.
Isn’t it wonderful how such a simple 11-line gospel reading can have so much in it? And that is after sitting inside this old book for nearly 2000 years.
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.

MT 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

June 28, 2022

Share any comments, thoughts or questions through the links below, or email deaconed@crestedbuttecatholic.org.

Print your tickets

PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com