Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Today's Gospel Meditation-

From my friend Cheryl:

In today's Gospel from Mark, Jesus walks on the water, after just having fed the five thousand... I have also included Matthew's account below...

As I read these passages, something struck me... The disciples were crossing the sea ahead of Jesus, and were struggling against the wind and the sea... The passage says that "Jesus meant to pass by them." This struck me because I never realized that He was still behind them... that he had not crossed yet. So His plan was to pass them by. I had to ask, why?? Why not just join them?? Where was He going??

Time and again, when Jesus exercised His power over the sea, He was revealing that He was God. It is no accident that much of Jesus's ministry takes place on the shores of the sea. To the people of the time, who were historically desert dwellers, the sea was alien and threatening. Throughout the Bible, the sea represented danger, the wrath of God, chaos or evil... and only God had power over it. So, perhaps when Jesus saw that His friends were faultering, not just with the sea, but what it represented, he reached out. Remember His comment to Peter, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Remember, too, that Jesus made his disciples get into the boat. Again and again, He showed them that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He was God... and He had power over evil.

As for today... Although Jesus has gone on ahead of us to prepare a place for us... at any time He can reach out to calm our storms... whether in the wee hours when we can't sleep ("fourth watch" was between 3 and 6am), or anytime we are struggling... Jesus is just a reach away from helping us through our storms. He is there. Be not afraid.

Incidentally, Gennesaret, the place where Jesus guided them that night, was the most lush, fertile, garden spot in the region.

Peace today and always... With love ~ Cheryl

Mk 6:45-52
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

Matthew's account...
7 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night, 8 he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once (Jesus) spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; 9 do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, 10 why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
11 Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God."
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

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