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Gospel for Sunday, June 23: Mark 4:35-41

XII Sunday Year B

35On that same day, when evening came, he said to them, “Let us pass on to the other shore.” 36And having dismissed the crowd, they took him with them, as he was, into the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37There was a great windstorm, and the waves were pouring into the boat, so that it was now full. 38He lay in the stern, on the cushion, and slept. Then they woke him and said, “Master, do you not care that we are lost?” 39He arose, threatened the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, calm down!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. 40Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith yet?” 41And they were seized with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this man, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Mk 4:35-41

Care sorelle e fratelli della Misericordie, sono Carlo Miglietta, medico, biblista, laico, marito, padre e nonno (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it). Anche oggi condivido con voi un breve pensiero di meditazione sul Vangelo, con speciale riferimento al tema della misericordia.

In Mark’s Gospel, miracles occupy about a third of the narrative (209 verses out of 666): they are usually wonders of healing or resurrection of the dead, but sometimes also of dominion over nature. The miracles are the consequence of Jesus’ saving power, 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 that flocks to him and the hostile nature. Therefore Mark calls them dynamis, power (Mk 6:2,5.14; 9:39), and never sèmeion, sign, or tèras, prodigy.

The miracles in the Gospels are thus not, per se, propagandistic signs performed to prove that Jesus is God, but revelatory moments of the divine concern for the suffering, of the Son’s mission to make us overcome our creaturely finitude: indeed, they remain, in Scripture, as gestures in themselves ambiguous, sometimes puzzling witnesses, which in themselves do not induce bystanders to faith in Jesus (Jn 12:37). Indeed, Jesus warns that “signs and portents” may be performed even by “false christs and false prophets” (Mk 13:22). Therefore, Jesus refuses every sign to the Pharisees who ask him for a proof (Mk 8:11-13). It is then explained why the Lord often imposes silence on those he heals (Mk 1:34; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). And one understands the insistence of faith required of those healed (Mk 5:34; 7:29; 9:22-24; 10:52): Jesus reiterates that total salvation comes only by adherence to him, and the miracle event is nothing more than an epiphenomenon of the total annihilation of evil that his incarnation accomplishes.

Today’s Gospel presents us with the beginning of Mark’s “Little Book of Miracles” (4:35-6:6).

v. 35: – We are “in that day,” the “day of IHWH,” the day of trial, “toward evening” (v. 35), when the hour of darkness is now approaching.

– “Let us pass on to the other shore”: there is a missionary command here, but there is also a transition between the previous booklet of parables and the booklet of miracles. Here the disciples take Jesus with them

in the boat. To get to the goal, to perform the mission, we must have Jesus in our boat: in Mark’s Gospel, the boat is symbolic of the Church. If we are to fulfill the mission, we must have Jesus with us.

v. 38: A storm breaks out on the lake, but Jesus is asleep, like God when the psalmist cries out to him, “Awake, why do you sleep, O Lord? Wake up!” (Sl 44:24); or the Prophet Isaiah: “Wake up, wake up, clothe yourself with strength O arm of IHWH! Wake up, O Lord! Open your eyes! Resume your vigor and save us, as in ancient times when you struck down the stormy Rahab, you tore the sea monster to pieces” (Isaiah 51:9-10).

It is God’s sleep, his absence, the experience of all believers. 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 in him alone! Accepting that God does not intervene is the test of faith.

Mark is unprejudiced here. The disciples do not call Jesus as in Matthew and Luke, “Lord”: they just call him, “Master.” Matthew and Luke have the disciples make a pious prayer, “Lord save us! Save us! We are lost”; whereas in Mark the disciples say, “Lord, don’t you care about us?” It is man who utters his cry, in sickness, in suffering, in death: “But why, God, why do you not intervene? Why are you asleep?” Here is all our humanity, our attitude in the face of death.

v. 39: – Jesus performs an exorcism. To Judaism, the sea and the wind were spirits, and Jesus casts them out with the same command given to the possessed: “Be silent!” Jesus frees his disciples from fear: in the face of the dark force of worldly phenomena, a world free from fear is a world undemonized.

Jesus manifests himself as the Kyrios, as God who rules over chaos, biblically represented by the sea. For Jews, the sea is a symbol of evil: dominating the sea is a sign that God dominates evil, as Psalm 107 says:

23 Those who plied the sea on ships

And traded on the great waters,

24 saw the works of the Lord,

his wonders in the deep sea.

25 He spoke and raised up

A stormy wind that raised its billows.

26 They went up to the heavens,

They descended to the depths;

their souls languished in breathlessness.

27 They swayed and staggered like drunkards,

all their skill had vanished.

28 In anguish they cried out to the Lord

And he delivered them from their distress.

29 He reduced the storm to calm,

Silenced the waves of the sea.

30 They rejoiced to see the becalmed

And he led them to the longed-for harbor” (Ps 107:23-30).

Psalm 89 again:

10 You master the pride of the sea,

you still the tumult of its waves.

11 You have trodden down Rahab as one overcome,

with a mighty arm you have scattered your enemies” (Ps 89:10-11).

Psalm 106 records that God threatened the Red Sea and it was dried up:

8 But God saved them for his name’s sake,

to manifest his power.

9 He threatened the Red Sea and it was dried up,

He led them through the waves as through a desert;

10 He saved them from the hand of those who hated them,

redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11 The water submerged their adversaries;

not one of them survived.

12 Then they believed his words

And sang his praise” (Sl 106:8-12).

v. 40: Then Jesus rebukes the disciples, “Why are you so fearful? Do you still not have faith?” Jesus teaches us that all our fears come from our “apistia,” our lack of faith. Our anxieties, our worries, our anguish, our pessimism are our little faith in him.

Even at the time of God’s silence we should always recite Psalm 131, even if it is difficult at times to pray it, even if we say it with anguish in our hearts:

“Lord, my heart is not made proud.

And my eyes are not lifted up with pride;

I do not go in search of great things,

greater than my strength.

2 I am quiet and serene

As a weaned child in its mother’s arms,

as a weaned child is my soul.

3 Let Israel hope in the Lord,

now and always” (Ps 131:1-3).

Serenity “always” is the Christian’s badge, the litmus test of an authentic following, resting on God’s love and relying on him. And a faith not in words, but in deeds, is one that succeeds in translating into the concreteness of life the truths professed with the mouth; it is one that descends the divine proclamation of liberation into the depths of the heart, into the meanderings of the psyche, igniting in the depths of man, in every circumstance, an endless feast.

Buona Misericordia a tutti!

Chi volesse leggere un’esegesi più completa del testo, o qualche approfondimento, me lo chieda a migliettacarlo@gmail.com .

Fonte

Spazio Spadoni

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