Coping, Faith and Suffering: Lessons from Stormy Seas


Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

 The disciples in Mark’s Gospel are frantic. They awaken Jesus asking him to save them. The patient teacher reminds them that they already have been given tools to help them cope with situations like this. In the end, Jesus hears their pleas and blesses their request.

 “It is easier for ME, IF, YOU do it”. Youngsters might say this to get mom or dad to SHOW them, again and again. Kids so often reveal insecurities, not yet ready to stand on their own two feet. Perhaps Jesus was suggesting to his disciples –  that before they ask the master to calm the seas, the aspiring and learning faithful should at least try some things to cope on their own. Jesus wants us today to call upon him and be a team working together to address life’s joys and challenges. Jesus helps those faithfully-willing to pitch in and help themselves!

 Yes, It is Father’s Day today. We celebrate the gifts of fatherly: kindness, devotion and love. As a young boy, I fondly remember fascinating times of exploring my dad’s several toolboxes. You see, he was a carpenter by profession. “What’s this one for daddy? I pestered. What’s that one for? I like this one, how do you use this one? I asked.  Reflecting back, perhaps what I really cherished most was spending personal teaching and learning time with my father. I tenderly remember the lessons. Thanks dad! 

 The “coping saw”(hold up)  was one of my favorite tools of my father. For me, it has great emblematic meaning and significance. I can almost remember the day he began teaching me about the use of the coping saw. “The coping saw, Donny is a master carpenter’s fine tool he uses to make delicate saw cuts in tricky places. The master carpenter uses it to make everything fit together-just right—Repeat: “to make everything fit together, just right.” Today, I cherish the gift and legacy of owning his saw, and moreover, cherish his demonstration teaching lessons about coping in life.

 Each of us faces tough challenges of health issues and so many others. May our faith tools help us cope and make everything fit together-just right.

 Let us be reminded, Jesus invites us to be in the same boat close at hand with him. Jesus promises to tenderly hold us and reassure us and save us with his power. Jesus gives us the gift and tools of the Eucharist to strengthen us, empower us, and guide us spiritually to cope.

 Today, we celebrate the ideal role model of unconditional love of earthly and heavenly father’s and mothers. They teach us to use our faith and power to cope and journey toward heaven.

 We have been given life saving and life giving tools. Our job is to know when, and how to use them!


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