Faith in a Time of Crisis


Faith in a Time of Crisis

The English poet Shedd said, “A ship is safe in a harbor, but that is not what ships are built for.” So, the vocation of the ships or boats is to brave the seas, traverse horizons and meet people. The American psychologist Carnegie said that the best people he met in life were people who had gone through storms in life. Gandhi said, “A person with a grain of faith in God never loses hope.”  When the storm suddenly hit the apostles, their faith failed them and they were all overcome with fear. They began to doubt about Jesus’ love and care for them. And so, when in their fear they cried out, “Master, do you not care? We are drowning,” Jesus gently rebuked them for their lack of faith.

This storm represents the great problems that arose in the early Church when it began its mission. There were great divisions and many disagreements. Even Peter and Paul one day publicly rebuked each other because they had differing ideas on how to evangelize the pagans (Galatians 2:11-14). During the dangerous crossing, Jesus sleeps and his disciples desperately try to fight the sea on their own. It is indeed very difficult to believe that Jesus’ sleep was real. In fact, it is practically impossible to sleep quietly on a boat filling with water tossed by big waves. Jesus’ sleeping is very symbolic and it signifies the death of Jesus. St. Mark is telling his Christian community that Jesus is no longer among us the way he used to be when he lived in this world. His disciples feel lonely and think that they must count only on themselves. However, this is not true. Rather, He is there with them though apparently indifferent to their desperate situation.

This incident shows that the apostles were not supermen. They were just ordinary people like us. Their cry to the Lord for help is a cry made by so many of us when danger strikes and God seems not to care about us. Many still believe that if God was with them and if God really cared about them, then no storm would ever hit them.  So, when a storm does come, they immediately think that God has abandoned them. But today’s Gospel story shows that this is not so. The storm hit them even though Jesus was present with them in the boat. If our faith doesn’t stop or prevent the storm, what does it do then? Faith assures us that God is with us in the midst of the storm. It is the conviction that we are not alone that enables us to get through the storm.

Is not our experience similar to that of the first Christian communities? Don’t we feel at times tossed around and overwhelmed by events and difficulties? Are there not times when we feel absolutely alone and without any strength? For example, when our families are in deep trouble, when one of the spouses is unfaithful, when the children misbehave, when any kind of disease attacks, when financial problems threaten to swallow all the savings, when there is disagreement among the brothers and sisters in our Christian community etc. At such moments, how many people ask, “Where is God? Where is Jesus? Why does he not intervene? Why does he not help me now?” Yes, we feel He is far away.  But we should not behave like the apostles who forgot that the Master was with them. Their mistake was to have recourse to him only when their situation became desperate. One who has faith in Christ does not remember him only when things go wrong.

The call of Jesus today is, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Human life is filled with lots of necessary crossing from one shore to the other. For example, crossing from a lack of faith to a fullness of trust in the Lord, crossing from a selfish life to lead a selfless life with others, crossing from hatred to forgiveness, crossing from scorn to respect etc.

So let us awaken the Christ of our Spirituality, let us awaken ourselves to Divine Love, let us awaken ourselves that God is greater than our mistakes, sins, and crises and do the next right thing for the kingdom.

By Susai Jesu, OMI
Vocation Team – West
Phone: (587) 335-2015