FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY
(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)
LORD TAKE CONTROL
Mark tells us a story that is familiar with seafarers. If one assesses the details with which Mark gives this account it is likely that a master seafarer like Peter may have been the storyteller. My interest in the story lies in the moment when some of the passengers in the boat went to woke Jesus up from sleep, to come to their aid.
Why did the disciples need the help of Jesus, when they had in the boat at least four master fishermen? Peter was in the boat, so were Andrew, John, and James. As fishermen it is likely that they may have encountered a similar storm. The lakes in the Palestine are noted in geographical studies for their turbulence and mostly one needs a master fisherman to navigate through a serious storm. Peter was among the best fishermen of his day and knew the terrain of his trade very well but this time the storm they encounter was beyond him. He needed to swallow his pride and go to Jesus for We are living in a world that some people because of the advancement of science and technology, think of themselves as “alpha and omega.” They behave as if they have solutions for every situation in life. Apart from corona virus, there are still many diseases that we do not have permanent solutions for. Before we rock this “boat” we are in (the earth), let us swallow our pride and go to Jesus begging him to come to our aid, our help.
In my apostolate as a seminary formator, I have come to the realization that in most situations I am clueless on the right formative technique to apply to help the formandi. I am blessed to have received the requisite formation as a major seminary formator in Rome but I have to confess that some situations I encounter in my line of work is beyond competence of work. And so, in most cases during my daily adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, I beg God to take absolute control. There are some of the formandi whose challenges have gone beyond regular spiritual directions and counselling. I now understand the reason why Rome has advised seminaries to bring on board resident psychologist but even with this some psychologists are of the opinion that some cases are beyond their area of expertise.
The power of God over all situations in life is evident in today’s readings. In today’s first reading, Job learns this lesson: if God can rule over natural forces that infinitely surpass human powers then he can certainly tame and direct human destinies even more completely. The Gospel shows us that this power to tame the forces of nature has also been given to the Son of Man – he possesses it to such a degree that he can sleep in the boat during a “bad squall”; he can rest in the care of his Father, who keeps watch over his mission and his life and who will not permit any natural power to overpower his Son. Even when, at the insistence of his disciples, Jesus does command the storm to “quiet down!” and “be still”, he does so not to show off his power, nor because he himself is afraid, but solely on account of his disciples’ fearful lack of faith.
It is natural and human to be afraid when one feels the threat of life but Jesus wants to tell us with this Gospel account that if He is with us, there is no cause for fear. In my personal life and in the lives of thousands of people I have encountered in my ministry, fear comes to a Christian at times due to lack of faith. Because of the disciples’ lack of faith, Jesus asked them: “Why are you so terrified? Have you no faith?” The faith they lacked ought not be limited to this sort of miracle, but should extend to a much greater miracle rooted in Jesus’ mission: he came to quiet a very different raging storm that is the chaos of our sin. And he tamed it in his death on the Cross, which indeed removes him from all “human standards” and leaves us really asking, “What kind of man is this?” Keep faith in Jesus; for with Jesus by our side no situation can overcome us.