26 June 2018

Finding sure friends
in the storms and on
the journeys of life

‘ … they took him with them in the boat, just as he was’ (Mark 4: 36) … boats in the small harbour at Georgioupoli in Crete last week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick,

26 June 2018

Our Gospel reading today (Mark 4: 35-41) was one of the Gospel readings we might have read here on Sunday morning.

It tells a story about a boat journey in a thunder storm. Christ is with the disciples, and they are seasoned fishers and sailors. They would know the real dangers of sudden storms and swells that can blow up on a lake, and they would know the safety of a good boat, as long as it has a good crew.

Christ is asleep in the boat when a great gale rises, the waves beat the side of the boat, and it is soon swamped by the waters in the storm.

At first, it seems Christ is oblivious to the calamity that is unfolding around him and to the fear of the disciples. They have to wake him, and by then they fear they are perishing, they are going to drown.

Christ wakes, rebukes the wind, calm descends on the sea, and Christ challenges those on the boat: ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ (verse 40).

Instead of being calmed, though, they are now filled with awe. Do they recognise Christ for who he truly is? They ask one another: ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (verse 31).

Even before the Resurrection, Christ tells his friends not to be afraid, a constant message he has for them after his Resurrection.

Do his friends in the boat begin to ask truly who Christ is because he has calmed the storm, or because he has calmed their fears?

Some of you are setting out the next stage in the journey of life. Hopefully, you have dreams. But you may also have some doubts or fears.

You may face storms and difficulties on that journey in life.

But I hope you will take three ideas with you on the journey in life.

1, You can dream dreams for yourself, for your family, for your friends, for your future. But when the going gets tough, I hope you can keep your trust in Christ, and that you can be confident that he will take care of you and love through all the storms and all the journeys in life.

2, The Disciples represent your friends: the friends you make in school, the friends you will meet and make in school, can be important friends later in life as you travel together on the journey in life.

3, And finally, the boat in this story is often seen as representing the Church. I hope that in the future you will find the Church is a welcoming place, a safe place, and a place you can turn to in the journeys and in the storms of life.

This reflection was prepared for the end-of-school-year service in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, on 26 June 2018.

Mark 4: 35-41:

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

A fishing boat with its nets in the harbour in Georgioupoli last week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

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