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Zac DavisJanuary 25, 2024

A Reflection for Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Find today’s readings here.

They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 4:38-40)

I am a sucker for corny jokes. One of my favorites, heard in youth group many years ago, is about today’s Gospel: Why did Jesus fall asleep on the boat on the Sea of Galilee? He was tired! (Ba-dum)

The joke works because it simply and humorously reminds us that Jesus was fully human, with a fully human need to sleep. This Gospel reading also reminds us that he was a fully divine human. Who else could control the weather?

The rest of the disciples on the boat, however, do not enjoy their teacher and friend’s divine abilities; they are naturally terrified when a storm overcomes them. After Jesus wakes up from his maritime nap and calms the waters, he asks them “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (I always imagine him saying this with a wink and a grin.)

In the first reading, we are given a glimpse into a “storm” in King David’s life. The prophet Nathan poses a clever parable to King David in order to call upon his conscience for his sins. David has gotten a married woman, Bathsheba, pregnant. To cover it up, he has her husband killed before remarrying her himself. Nathan’s confrontation succeeds in bringing about repentance in David. But Nathan reminds him: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.”

(Sidebar: In doing some research for this reflection, I was delighted to discover that Gregory Peck played King David on screen in the 1951 film, “David and Bathsheba,” which is now in my to-watch queue.)

These are words we need to hear. Whether we are wracked with guilt over a sin for which we can’t quite forgive ourselves or the pace of life’s hardships overwhelms to the point of a breakdown, God is right there, comforting us, whispering to us, I am here. You will not die.

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