07 January 2016

Why did Jesus mean to pass them by?

Because the Church in the United States of America does not celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th but on the Sunday nearest it, we heard today from the Gospel of Saint Mark how Jesus, seeing the disciples being tossed about on the Sea of Galilee, "meant to pass them by" (Mark 6:48).

Where was he going? Why did he intend to pass them by? Mark gives us no hint as to where Jesus intended to go instead, but we might be able to discern something of his motive.

When the boat of our life is tossed about on the waves of life, how often do we ask why Jesus does not seem to be in our boat? How often do we ask why he does not seem to listen to our every word or to respond immediately? How often do we also cry out in fear, forgetting that "one who fears is not yet perfect in love" (I John 4:18)?

Could it be that Jesus intended to pass by the disciples to remind them - and us - that we might not be the most important person in the world? Could it not be that Jesus intended to pass them by to go and minister to someone in particular or to another group? Did someone in the crowd he earlier dismissed need him at that moment?

When the winds of life are against us, perhaps it might be better to simply invite Jesus to climb in our boat, rather than to call upon him in fear or to demand his presence in our lives.

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