Who Is This Man?

The Call of the Disciple: The call of the disciples at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry shows God’s decisiveness to establish his kingdom on earth. Jesus’ method was simple. First calling the disciples to be with him, and later to be sent out, to impact their world. Being with him is important to help them understand who He is, because their mission is to bear witness to his person as the Saviour of the world. Bearing witness implies seeing and emulating how he understands life and how he relates with others. So, for the disciples, it was a daily learning with Jesus.

The Lesson of Storm

Today in the Gospel, we are confronted with the lesson of the Storm. Jesus convinces his disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake. But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. It was on the Sea of Galilee, which is a small body of water, about 13 miles wide and 7 miles across and 150 feet deep. What makes it dangerous is that it is about 700 feet below sea level.

Hence, the concern of the disciples about drowning was completely normal and reasonable. These were professional fishermen. They knew how to handle a boat during a storm, but this storm was fierce and violent, and they believed they were going to die because of it.

What they didn’t know is that this storm is going to be used by Jesus to teach them some incredible things about Himself and about themselves. It’s one thing to learn something about God or ourselves sitting in a church listening to the homily, it’s another thing to learn something about God and ourselves when we lose a loved one, or are let go at work, when we can’t afford our bills anymore, when our health begins to decline, or when our marriage falls apart. Some lessons can only be learned in the middle of the storm. On the other hand, storms in life can cause one to doubt God’s love.

The Storm Despite the Presence of God

The storm can be a natural course of events. For instance, regarding the Sea of Galilee, which is surrounded by mountains, what you have is warm air over the lake and cold air that comes over the tops of the mountains and down into the lake. When that cold air and warm air mix you get storms. These storms can develop in minutes.

That is why we can understand the fact that, though the disciples were with Jesus and with him on a religious trip for the sake of the kingdom of God, they still experienced storm.

Jesus calming the storm shows that God has control over nature. The fact that the disciples woke Jesus up from sleep shows their trust in him. They knew Jesus was special and unique and that God was working through Him. It also shows that they want to know the will of God in this situation, because not all storms come to disrupt our life. Some storms come to help us to see some things clearly or to clear our path. Hence, the event of the storm started a significant paradigm shift in the thinking of the disciples about who Jesus really is. If Jesus can calm the storm, he can also give us eternal life. May God save us from unnecessary storms, help us to be thankful for a storm-free life, and to grow in our relationship with him even amid storms.

[Readings: 2 Tm 1:1-8; Mk 4:26-34]

Fr. John Opara

Fr. John Opara is an associate pastor at St. Johannes Lette Coesfeld, Germany. He has a doctorate degree in Sacred Liturgy and is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria. Email: [email protected].

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