Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

storm at sea.jpg

Mark 4.35-41

“How is it you have no faith?”

Jesus put this question to the disciples. In telling the story, Mark puts the same question to his readers. In the first instance his intended readers were members of the Christian Community in Rome during the fierce persecution initiated by Nero. Their leaders, Peter and Paul, had both been put to death, as well as about two thousand other Christians. Naturally those who had so far escaped death were filled with intense fear. It was against this background, intending to bolster the faith of these people, that Mark wrote his account of the Gospel.

What he wrote for them has meaning for us as well. Those Roman Christians would surely have felt some empathy with the original disciples crying out in fear when overtaken by the threatening storm. At times they too must have felt that their Lord was asleep, leaving them to perish, overwhelmed as they were by the storms of persecution. But no, says Mark, Jesus does not desert his people. By the power of his word he calmed the wind and the sea. God's saving power is his. Even in the midst of the most frightening adversity he is always there to strengthen those who trust him.

And so to the question: "How is it you have no faith?" Even those privileged first disciples, those who had witnessed first-hand the miracles of Jesus and all his wonders, even they were afraid yet they were not abandoned. Even they faltered in faith, but they were still saved. So, too, with today’s readers: frightening ‘storms’ of one sort or another are a fact of life, in the lives of individuals, in family life, in the life of the Church, and so on. Yet, even if your faith is at times shaken by the storms that surround you, take heart, says Mark, you will never be abandoned.