This Week's Reflection
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 463: Trust the Lord: Reflection on Mk 4:35-41
“On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “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?”” Mk 4:35-41 NAB
How well do we trust the Lord? Ultimately all sin is a failure to trust the Lord.
So, if we want to avoid sinning, my brothers and sisters; we should work on trusting God more. Why? Because trust is rooted in faith, and faith is the remedy for sin. The more faith we have, the less inclined we are to sin. Look at this Gospel passage. Jesus and his disciples get in a boat to cross to the opposite shore; Jesus falls asleep, a storm kicks up, the boat is filling up with water, the disciples panic, they wake Jesus up. Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves and immediately everything calms down. Then Jesus says to them; “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
Interesting detail here --what is Jesus referring to when he asks why they’re terrified? Note, he asks in the present tense; “Why ARE you terrified,” not “Why WERE you terrified?” The storm is over when Jesus asks this question. So, was Jesus referring to their fear of the storm, or was Jesus referring to their reaction to him calming the storm? I think we have a clue to that answer earlier in this passage.
When they decide they better wake up Jesus, how do they address him? Teacher! “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Teacher, not Lord! They didn’t have the faith yet to believe that Jesus was God. So yes, they were afraid of the storm, but I believe the fear that Jesus is referring to here, is their fear of him, because they don’t know what to make of him yet. “Who is this, that even the wind and the waves obey him?”
And I find, my brothers and sisters, that this is the root of many of our fears. We become afraid when we don’t quite know what to make of God; or what God expects from us, or if God REALLY cares what happens in my day to day life. Those doubts lead us to fear, those fears lead us to sin. And so, the way to combat that fear is to build ourselves up in faith. The way we build ourselves in faith is to train ourselves to trust God more. And the way we build up our trust in God is to put everything we care about in God’s hands.
It’s something I’ve said again and again and again in my almost nine years as pastor: surrender your illusions of control. And the reason why I preach this so ardently is because it’s the lesson I’ve learned here as pastor many times over in my almost nine years here. Every time I have failed, every time I have stressed out, is when I’ve tried to control my parish instead of just doing my job and trusting God to do the rest. So, I know what I’m talking about. And despite this knowledge, I still fail occasionally! Control is a difficult thing to surrender! And yet it is very necessary.
Let go of your fears. Trust in the Lord, and watch your favorite sins start to disappear.
-Father. Michael Anthony Sisco
Quote from a Saint
“My Jesus, support me when difficult and stormy days come, days of testing, days of ordeal, when suffering and fatigue begin to oppress my body and my soul. Sustain me, Jesus, and give me strength to bear suffering. Set a guard upon my lips that they may address no word of complaint to creatures. Your most merciful Heart is all my hope. I have nothing for my defense but only Your mercy; in it lies all my trust” -Diary of St Faustina
O HEART of love, I place all my trust in Thee: for though I fear all things from my weakness, I hope all things from thy mercies. - Ejaculation of B. Margaret Mary from the Raccolta
Questions for Reflection
How well do you trust the Lord?
Do you agree that all sin is a failure to trust in God? Why or why not?
What are some sins in your life that you would like to resolve? How would an increase in trust in Jesus help you to overcome those sins?
What “illusions of control” are you holding on to right now?
What areas of your life do you need to entrust more to God?
Trusting in God does not mean that we must do nothing in hard circumstances. How do we trust God to take care of things while taking necessary action?
Consider the disciples’ relationship with Jesus at the time of the storm and after the miracle. How does your faith compare?
Do you see Jesus more as “teacher” or “Lord”?
Who in your life is a model of trust in God?
How can you be a model of faith to those around you?
Consider the quote from St. Faustina’s diary. She prays that she will have the grace to not complain to anyone of her sufferings. Do you think that complaining betrays a lack of trust in God? Why or why not?
How does knowledge of our own weakness affect our trust in God?
What other prayers would you recommend for those who want to increase their trust in God?
Take a few moments to compose your own prayer regarding trust in God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Then pray your prayer daily for a month and see if you find any changes in your spiritual life.