Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just as He was.

Memorial of St. John Bosco, priest
Gospel reading - Mark 4:35-41

Quite often I find passages in the Gospel that give me fits. I read today's Gospel last night before going to bed and it took me a while to go to sleep because I just couldn't make any sense out of a few words, "Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was."

"...just as he was" What the heck is that supposed to mean?", I thought. How else are they going to take Him? Did this mean Jesus didn't have time to change clothes or freshen up? "Sorry Jesus, we've got to go. You can get some fresh digs when we get to the other side of the lake."

This morning I realised that to find the answer I needed to put the whole thing in context so I decided to go back to the beginning of the chapter. And, of course, here is what I found, the very first verse, "On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land."

Okay, so no big insight into the words "just as he was" other than that, he was in the boat, all day, teaching. This was a good reminder for me that when I don't understand something in Scripture it's always a good idea to read it in context. It's a good idea to read what came before and what comes after a particular passage. That verse about him getting into the boat came in the readings on Wednesday but I had forgotten all about it by Saturday and surely Jesus wasn't in the boat for three or four days! He got in boat in the morning and by evening they took him, "just as he was" - in the boat - to the other side of the lake.

TAKE TWO - It was His idea!
I am always trying to listen to the voice of God. Every morning I am reminded to do this, "Today listen to the voice of the Lord" (Psalm 95, the first Psalm of the day for the Liturgy of the Hours.) This is something many of us try to do and it is a good thing. This too is what the disciples were doing in today's Gospel reading, "...Jesus said to his disciples:“Let us cross to the other side.” They listened and obeyed. Crossing the lake was His idea.

However, I, like the disciples, begin to question the Lord when I am following his promptings and things are not going smooth like I thought they would. I can imagine the grumbling in the boats, "I told you we should have waited until daylight so we could read the weather. Why did he make us do this now. This is not good, we're not going to make it. Should we turn back? Did he really say cross to the other side?"

For some reason, I think that just because I am following Jesus' word to me it should be smooth sailing. I think that just because I have him in the "boat", all will be calm. So, instead of trusting him on this, since it was his idea, I cry out, "don't you care Lord?"

It is easy to trust God when I present an idea and He says, "yes". It is a difficult thing, however, when what he asks me to do is his idea. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength ...(1 Cor 10:13), Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov 3:5-6) Make straight my paths O Lord, and calm my seas!

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Mother's Day Weekend.