Daily Reflection – Jan 30, 2016
Saturday 30 January 2016
First Reading: 2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17
Create a clean heart in me, O God
Gospel Reading: Mark 4:35-41
Today’s Note: Day of penance
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
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?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
‘Faith doesn’t have all of the answers’
In one of the most powerful parables, Nathan gets David to admit that someone who has everything will be punished (David says by death) for greedily taking the “little lamb” of a poor man. “You are that man!” Nathan tells David. God will not revoke the covenant with David, but God will punish the king. Bathsheba’s baby will die, and David “house” (his son) will rise against him. David will be shamed as God allows David’s neighbor to lie openly with all the king’s wives. David falls prostrate and fasts.
I can relate to the Disciples in today’s reading. They find themselves on a boat in the midst of a storm, and Jesus is asleep. They cry out to him in fear, and he challenges them in their faith. In the gospel, Jesus’ friends take him “just as he was” into their boat. So how was he? So exhausted from preaching all day long that he fell asleep and was sleeping “on a cushion” as a storm blew up and tossed the boat about. The disciples woke him with a rebuke: “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Jesus responds: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Just about every time I get on a plane, I feel trepidation. I have a terrible fear of turbulence, and often find myself clutching the rosary or a crucifix when flying.
And yet, somehow, these moments of anxiety can often be the source of my most fervent prayer. The elevated heart rate and sweaty palms often lead to closed eyes, clenched teeth, and remarkable concentration. I realise in those moments that while I have faith, I don’t have all of the answers. We don’t understand the entire Gospel message, but nor did the Disciples on the boat that day, and they were with Jesus every day.
Let Jesus’ question ring in your ears: “Why are you so afraid?” Of what are you afraid? Ask the Spirit to show you of what you are afraid. Then ask the Spirit to light up the dark places in your psyche where the deepest fear lurks. Show everything to Jesus. Then pray David’s prayer of repentance as your own: “A clean heart create in me, O God, and a faithful spirit put within me….Give me back the joy of your salvation and a willing spirit renew within me.” Pray it three or four times, stopping to savor any word which speaks deeply to your heart.
And so, it is at times of fear, when the storm clouds well up in our hearts that perhaps we might call out in prayer, saying, “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?”
With the church we pray from today’s liturgy: “You call us to walk in the light of Christ. Free us from darkness and keep us in the radiance of truth.” Free us from the darkness of fear that keeps us separated from one another.