Ite Missa Est Reflection for January 31, 2015 – Scripture Readings
There are many storms that we face in life. There is poverty, the loss of a loved one, the reality of our society’s sins, fear, financial instability, betrayal by a loved one, our own brokenness and addictions; the list goes on and on for a while. In the midst of these storms we can cry out, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” That is what the disciples did in today’s gospel as they shook Jesus awake.
In the gospel, Christ showed that He did care. He calmed the storm and revealed the power He has over the world that He created. In response, Mark tells us “they were filled with great awe.” This encounter with the Lord was dramatic, big, and probably scared the snot out of the disciples (in a good way). This is a great passage to spend time with in lectio, but I want to move now to how it ties into the memorial of St. John Bosco that we remember today.
Many of us may never have as dramatic and concrete an experience of Christ’s Lordship as the disciples did on that boat. However, that doesn’t mean that he neglects the storms that people experience. St. John Bosco is one example of the way Jesus still calms our storms. St. John Bosco, who experienced poverty himself, responded to the Lord’s call to calm the storm of poverty that threatened the people around him. He helped train young men in skills and trades so they could work and provide for themselves and their families. He also introduced them to the One who calms all storms. I see all of this work, meeting them in both their material and spiritual need, as his cooperation with Christ’s own work of calming the storm.
Now, what about us?
Do we calm storms or create them?
Do I subject others to a whirlwind of my gossip?
Do I rock the boat with my prideful assumption that I am always right?
Does my hypocrisy toss the boat to and fro?
Do I fail to help in the time of the storm because I echo the words of Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Or do I, in the faith that is described in Hebrews today, obey the Lord’s call to walk compassionately with those who are in storms?
Do I sojourn beyond my comfort zone to reach those in storms I might not “approve” of?
Do I receive the call to care for my neighbor as Jesus defines neighbor?
Am I willing to give up my own security and promise to enter the storm with my brothers and sisters?
Christ became man knowing the storm he would enter through his humanity.
Abraham was prepared to offer up his son, his security, because he reasoned that God would deliver him from his storm.
St. John Bosco, delivered from his own storm, invested his life into those others rejected and left tossing about on the waves of poverty. Do you have faith that the storms will be calmed? Do I? Do we see our discipleship as the work of calming storms, not starting them?
Besides, He already calmed the storm of death itself, what are we afraid of?