Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified.
But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Stay present with courage
In today’s reading from Mark, we see that the disciples had already participated in the feeding of the 5,000 with the loaves and fishes and were now experiencing their second “miracle” by witnessing Jesus walking on water and quieting the stormy seas.
The disciples’ reactions remind me of something I have said to myself many times- “if only I had a sign!” “If only I, too, could believe…”
Over time, I have come to see that there often aren’t enough signs, miracles, imaginings and blessings for us to satisfy our hardened hearts.
Jesus comes to us in relationship, and we will know him only through risking an encounter and deepening relationship with him.
“Take courage- it is I- Do not be afraid!”
Let us stay present with courage, curiosity, trust and open hearts as we, too, witness, explore and pray over the invitations God extends to us through Christ.
—Kathy Coffey-Guenther, Ph.D., is senior mission and Ignatian leadership specialist at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
As we begin this new year, may we stay open-hearted and curious. May we go deeper in our trust, intimacy and understanding of this person of Jesus. May we let go of all that prevents us from staying present, awake and alert to the miracles, signs and invitations that abound each day.
Dear Lord, help us to soften our hearts and remove any barriers to you that we may hold.
We thank you for all of the creative ways you come to meet us and engage us, we thank you for all of the many times that you try to show us your glory and love for us, and we thank you for all of the gifts you want to give us that we are not ready yet to receive.
We ask for your patience and we ask that you stay with us, every step of the way, as we make more room for you and your love and less room for the doubts and fears that get in the way.
We thank you for all of the gifts of this life that we enjoy. We thank you for the gifts of this day. We thank you for the people who love us and the many ways in which we are cared for. We pray that all other beings may experience the same.
We thank you for all of this, in Jesus’ name. Amen.