Gospel Reflection for June 23, 2024 – 12th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Job 38.1, 8-11; 2 Corinthians 5.14-17; Mark 4.35-41

Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4.35-41)

In this passage Jesus raises two questions important to the whole of Mark’s gospel: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Perhaps Jesus should have asked, “What makes you think I’m asleep on the job?”

A terrible storm threatens to swamp the boat carrying Jesus and his disciples to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. His disciples wake Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” Jesus awoke, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, saying, ‘Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”  They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “ Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  Mark 4.35-41

Jesus’ calming action and chastening questions fill the disciples with awe. They move from one kind of fear to another—from fear for their lives to awe, amazement. Mark suspends the story with the disciples expressing their awe, “Who is this that even the wind and sea obey?”  

This rhetorical question creates a threshold for us hearers of the gospel today. As post-Easter people, we can answer the question. Mark writes for us. Like the disciples in the boat we can move from fear to awe to faith, even in our Church today afloat in a globe wired electronically, economically, culturally. Awe is a gift of the Spirit. Awe is the beginning of wisdom, a threshold of faith, a door to mystery, according to the Old Testament Wisdom books.

  • How have your experiences of awe affected your faith?
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