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Pastor's Column

Jesus, Asleep In My Boat

Pastor’s Column

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 23, 2024

An image of Jesus asleep in a boat (Generated by AI Copilot)

How I love the image of Jesus asleep in the disciple’s boat as it appears to be going down! There is so much we can learn from this passage (Mark 4:35-41), for the gospel stories are also windows on God’s actions in our souls. Of course, the Lord has told us that he is “with us always”; yet, at times, it also can seem that he is truly asleep in our boat, that he waits too long to act, that he doesn’t care.  

          We find the disciples once again out on the sea. Crossing the “sea” plays a large part in the ministry of Jesus. Often we find the disciples and Christ passing from one side to the other; and, in this instance, the gospel action happens while they are in transit. In our lives, too, God often does his best work when we are “in transit” between one place and another, perhaps not realizing that God is more involved while we are on the way to our goal rather than when we actually arrive. 

          These disciples are no novices when it comes to boats. Yet the Sea of Galilee was known for having squalls that would come up very quickly. We find Jesus sleeping in the back of the boat near the tiller. The boat is getting swamped with water. You would think Jesus would wake up! A normal person, it seems, would wake up. I have a feeling that they looked over at Jesus a number of times while the boat was slowly going down only to find that Jesus would open one eye and then close it again. They surely suspected that somehow Jesus knew what was going on in spite of being asleep.

          The issue here, of course, is that Jesus appears to do absolutely nothing in the face if a crisis. Perhaps this may sound familiar, as God’s timing is often not our own. In fact, he was the one who had placed them into this situation; he had accompanied them on their journey; and yet now the boat was going down – they are halfway between one shore and the other, and Jesus simply didn’t appear to act. It’s all a part of the Lord’s lesson plan of trust for his friends.

          How often it can seem as if Jesus prefers to wait until the very last minute in our lives before he acts! Notice the timing of God here. The disciples do try to trust Jesus, but they finally can't stand it anymore, waking him up and accusing him of not caring! Of course he does care, but there’s something they have to learn. God's timing is not our own. Can we be faithful to God and wait on his timing? What is he trying to teach us while we wait? God is always faithful, but will we be faithful as we wait on the Lord? Jesus is always with us in our little boat, but he does appear as if asleep, at times, for our own good.

Father Gary ~


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