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Gospel for Sunday, June 20 : Mark 4: 35-41

XII Sunday B

35That same day, when evening came, he said to them: “Let’s cross to the other shore.” 36And having sent the crowd away, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37There was a great windstorm and the waves were pouring into the boat, so much so that it was now full. 38He was in the stern, on the pillow, and sleeping. Then they woke him up and said to him: “Master, don’t you care that we are lost?” 39He woke up, threatened the wind and said to the sea: “Shut up, calm down!”. The wind stopped and there was a great calm. 40Then he said to them: “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”. 41And they were filled with great fear and said to one another: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”.

Mark 4, 35-41

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

In the Gospel of Mark, miracles occupy about a third of the narrative (209 verses out of 666): they are generally wonders of healing or resurrection of the dead, but sometimes also of dominion over nature. Miracles are the consequence of Jesus’ power of salvation, of the purpose of his mission: he came to definitively defeat evil and death, and his victory begins precisely in the space-time limit of the poor sick humanity who flocks to him and of hostile nature. Therefore Mark calls them dynamis, power (Mk 6,2.5.14; 9,39), and never semeion, sign, or tearas, prodigy. The miracles in the Gospels are therefore not, in themselves, propaganda signs performed to demonstrate that Jesus is God, but revealing moments of divine concern for the suffering, of the mission of the Son to make us overcome our creaturely finitude: in fact, they remain, in Scripture, as gestures that are ambiguous in themselves, which sometimes leave the witnesses perplexed, and which in themselves do not lead the bystanders to faith in Jesus (Jn 12.37). Indeed, Jesus warns that “signs and wonders” can also be performed by “false Christs and false prophets” (Mk 13:22). Therefore Jesus refuses every sign to the Pharisees who ask him for a test (Mk 8,11-13). This explains why the Lord often imposes silence on those he heals (Mk 1.34; 3.12; 5.43; 7.36; 8.26). And we understand the insistence of faith required of those who are healed (Mk 5.34; 7.29; 9.22-24; 10.52): Jesus reiterates that total salvation comes only from adhesion to him, and The miracle event is nothing other than an epiphenomenon of the total annihilation of evil that his incarnation achieves.

Today’s Gospel presents us with the beginning of Mark’s “Little Book of Miracles” (4.35-6.6): we are “on that day”, the “day of IHWH”, the day of trial, “towards evening” ( v. 35), when the hour of darkness is now approaching.

The storm breaks out on the lake, but Jesus, on the boat, sleeps: it is the sleep of God, the absence of him, the experience of all believers (Ps 44.24; Is 51.9-10). It is the moment of the cross, the silence of Holy Saturday, the sleep of Christ in the tomb. How difficult it is then not to lose peace, to remain steadfast in God, to trust only in him! Accepting that God does not intervene is the test of faith.

Mark is unprejudiced here: while the other synoptics place a complete prayer on the lips of the disciples (Mt 8.25; Luke 8.24), here the disciples call Jesus “Master” (v. 38) and not “Lord”, and they accuse of not caring about them.

But Jesus manifests himself as the Kyrios, as God who dominates the chaos, biblically represented by the sea: “You dominate the pride of the sea, you calm the tumult of its waves” (Ps 89,10; cf. 107, 23-30) . And he performs an exorcism: for Judaism. the sea and the wind have spirits, and Jesus chases them away with the same order given to the demoniac: “Be quiet!” (v. 39; cf. 1.25).

Then he rebukes the disciples: “Why are you so fearful? Do you still have no faith?” (v. 40): Jesus teaches us that all our fears come from a lack of faith. Our anxieties, our worries, our anguish, our pessimism are our little faith in him. Serenity “always” is therefore the hallmark of the Christian, the litmus test of authentic following, which rests on the love of God and entrusts oneself to him. And a faith not in words, but in deeds, is that which manages to translate the truths professed with the mouth into the concreteness of life, it is that which lowers the divine announcement of liberation into the depths of the heart, into the meanders of the psyche, lighting up the intimate part of man, in every circumstance, an endless celebration.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

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