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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Sam 12:1-7a.10-17): The Lord sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him, Nathan said: «Judge this case for me! In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor. The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers. But the poor man had nothing at all except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children. She shared the little food he had and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom. She was like a daughter to him. Now, the rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks and herds to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him. Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and made a meal of it for his visitor».

David grew very angry with that man and said to him: «As the Lord lives, the man who has done this merits death! He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold because he has done this and has had no pity». Then Nathan said to David: «You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife’. Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down’».

Then David said to Nathan, «I have sinned against the Lord». Nathan answered David: «The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die». Then Nathan returned to his house. The Lord struck the child that the wife of Uriah had borne to David, and it became desperately ill. David besought God for the child. He kept a fast, retiring for the night to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth. The elders of his house stood beside him urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor would he take food with them.
Responsorial Psalm: 50
R/. Create a clean heart in me, o God.
A clean heart create for me, o God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you.

Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God; then my tongue shall revel in your justice. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 3:16): Alleluia. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 4:35-41): On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

Fr. Joaquim FLURIACH i Domínguez (St. Esteve de P., Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we see how our Lord scolds his disciples for their lack of faith: “Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 4:40). They had seen demonstrations of His divine power that proved beyond doubt that Jesus Christ was God's Envoy. Nevertheless, some of his closest followers did not believe Him. They did not realize that they should fear nothing because the Lord was with them. In his rebuke, Jesus establishes a direct correlation between faith and courage. His meaning is clear. If you have faith in me, you will also have courage. If you do not have courage, it is because you do not have faith in me.

On another occasion when the Apostles doubted, it was explained that they did not believe because they had not received the Holy Spirit. Our Lord needed an abundance of patience to teach the Apostles what they would, in turn, teach us, so that we too can courageously give testimony of the reality of Jesus, the Son of God. If we, who are His modern day disciples, say we have faith but then give way to fear when we should talk to others about Him, it is fitting that we share the scolding that Jesus gave to His fearful disciples after He had stilled the storm on Galilee.

We have received the Holy Spirit, which, if we always do our best to obey the Father's will, lets us see beyond doubt and fear that our Lord is positively guiding us in our walk of faith through life. Because we have the Holy Spirit, we have no reason to fear anything. Jesus is the one and only Lord of the Universe, because “even the wind and sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41), as his terrified disciples said to one another.

So, when you are afraid, ask yourself, —why am I so cowardly? Are my own fears so real or so necessary to me that I cling to them although they cause me to question my Lord's infinite Love for me? Our many brothers and sisters who have died as martyrs knew how to answer this question, not only with their words in times of tranquility, but also in times of danger, often at the cost of their lives. With the aid of God's grace, and in spite of their awareness of the dangers to themselves, many of our brothers and sisters take steps of courage that cause their faith and hope in our Lord to grow exponentially. And if they can do it, why not us? If we hold back, could it be because deep within our souls we do not have the same passionate desire to love our Lord with all our minds, hearts, and souls?

We can be made bolder by remembering one of the greatest examples of courage and faith —the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, Queen of confessors— who even at the foot of the Cross maintained the light of faith. A faith that dazzled the world on the Day of the Resurrection!

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” (Saint John Mary Vianney)

  • “The Apostles should not fear threats: Christ —although silent— is in the boat and, for that very reason, it has never sunk.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6). It is by looking to him in faith that Christ's faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 1698)