Job 38:1, 8-11
This short passage is replete with evocative imagery. God, the Creator Mother, presents Job with a series of rhetorical questions. The sea may be powerful, even threatening. It is simply God’s new born infant, however, wrapped in God’s swaddling clothes of darkness and cloud. God commands the sea and all its moods.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
The opening words of this reading, ‘ the love of Christ urges us on’, offer us hope as we move once more into Ordinary Time : Paul provides a mini summary of Christian life. To be ‘in Christ’ is to share in the life of Christ and to be renewed in the power of the resurrection. It is to see everyone and everything through a new lens. A ‘new creation’ is Paul’s description of life ‘in Christ’.
The gospel reading for today looks back to the parables that comprise the first part of the chapter and the crowds that heard them: it is the evening of that day. It also looks forward as it marks the beginning of the second major section of Mark’s gospel (4:35-8:21), a section that seems to be structured around a number of crossings of the lake. Jesus’ decision to move with his disciples out of familiar territory is deliberate: “Let us go across….”
The crossing is difficult, as is the challenge that confronts them on the other side of the lake. From the disciples’ perspective, the seeming indifference of the sleeping Jesus is even more disturbing than the storm that threatens their safe crossing: “Do you not care…?” Jesus demonstrates that he does indeed care. In the context of the Markan story, he is like the sower in the parable (4:27-28) who goes to sleep and trusts that the seed will sprout and grow and bear fruit-and it does. Within a first-century Jewish context, Jesus’ ability to ‘rebuke’ the storm is a sign of divine power. In the first reading from Job and in the Psalms, the God of Israel is the one who stills the roaring of the seas (Psalm 65:5) and controls the monsters that inhabit the waters (Psalm 89:9).
This little story invites us to faith. The power of God is often at work in our midst even if we do not recognise it. Too often we focus only on the difficulties, the winds and the waves, and fail to realise that God’s power can triumph in the face of any challenge. Sometimes, we need to trust enough to allow others and ourselves to get some sleep instead of lying awake thinking that everything depends on us.