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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday 3rd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Heb 11:1-2.8-19): Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God. By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age and Sarah herself was sterile for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac: and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name. He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
Responsorial Psalm: Lk 1
R/. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old. That he would save us from our sins from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the bonds of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
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 same day when eve­ning had come, Jesus said to them, «Let's go across to the other side». So they left the crowd and took him away in the boat he had been sitting in, and other boats set out with him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat so that it was soon filled with water. And Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. They woke him up and said, «Master, don't you care if we sink?».

As Jesus awoke, He rebuked the wind and ordered the sea, «Quiet now! Be still!». The wind dropped and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, «Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?». But they were terrified and they said to one another, «Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him!».

«Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no 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 still have no 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 the 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!