June 21, 2015 – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

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Many of us find it hard to understand why Jesus would rebuke the poor disciples trying to wake him up to help as their boat is sinking. Aren’t true disciples supposed to run to their master in their moment of need? Isn’t it a sign of their faith and trust in him that they call on him in their moment of crisis? Why, then, does he reprimand the weary disciples who are simply overwhelmed in the face of the storm?

To make meaning of Jesus’ rebuke, we have to go back to the life situation of the early Christian community to which the Gospel of Mark was addressed. Mark’s community was a persecuted community and his church was like a boat sailing through the stormy sea, in danger of being swamped by the waves. The way the story ends with Jesus getting up and calming the rough sea is Mark’s way of saying to the church under persecution that, by and by, Jesus is going to hear their prayers to put an end to the crisis and restore peace. Their prayer is not in vain. It is the normal course of action for disciples who are caught in a storm that threatens their very existence and that of the church – take it to the Lord in prayer. Yet Mark has something more to say: Intense crisis demands intense faith!