Who is Lord Over Wind and Sea

Jonah was a very important person in the primitive Church since he is a figure of

Jesus Christ. Many Catholics may have never read the Book of Jonah (only four

chapters) nor have a familiarity with his life. The Gospel of this Sunday (Mark 4:35-41)

has many parallels, and contrasts with the experience of Jonah and it is good to draw this

out. The people of Jesus’ time would not have missed the comparison.

When Jonah was called to go to Nineveh and preach repentance he ran away to

Tarshish, which means the end of the world. He got on the first boat he found to get

away from God. However, God sent such a great storm at sea that the boat almost broke

in two and each man was praying to his god to save them. The captain found Jonah in the

hull of the ship and reprimanded him saying, ‘get up and call on your god or we will die.’

The sailors found out by lot that Jonah was the cause of their distress and he offered to

throw himself over, ‘I know it is my fault that this storm has struck you.’ They followed

his advice, and when they saw how the sea calmed down they also prayed to the God of

In the Gospel this week we see something similar. Jesus is also asleep on the boat

with his disciples, and he seems oblivious to their difficulties. They wake him up and he

rebuked the sea with one word: Quiet! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

The power of Jesus Christ is evident. He doesn’t throw himself over; he says one word

and calm is restored. Something greater than Jonah is present for us today in this Gospel,

and in our life; it is Jesus Christ. Who is the only one who can order the wind and the

sea? Only God, who else can? The question, ‘Who then is this whom the wind and sea

obey? is rhetorical. It is obvious that only God can do this, and this man must be God, or

at least God is working strongly through him.

St. Augustine has a beautiful homily on this Gospel, and I am sure he does not

mind if I take some of his ideas. We are also sailors in a boat of the Church and we

suffer shipwreck if our thoughts on not on God and his goodness. When a person insults

you, that is the wind, and if you get angry or depressed, that is the wave. When the wind

blows and the waves swell the ship is endangered and you can be turned upside down.

Augustine says, very wisely, if you have a reaction of revenge to the insult then it means

Christ is asleep in your boat. Jesus Christ would never settle a score. Jesus says, ‘Give

and it will be given to you, forgive and you shall be forgiven.’ So if in our heart we seek

revenge or retribution, and we all do this, then Jesus Christ is asleep in our boat. With

Christ I would refrain from anger or wrath or getting even and peace will return to my

boat, as it did for Him.

So what should I do? Wake up Jesus Christ! Call out to him! You and I can say,

‘Jesus, wake up, help me!’ Maybe you and I have to say it a thousand times a day in

order to really mean it. But let us begin today!

You can take the interpretation, the thinking of this Gospel as a norm. What St.

Augustine said about anger is true of any other bad habit. A person can say, when I am

down, or lonely, or suffer a set back, I tend to resort to anger, depression, alcohol,

pornography, video games or useless distractions, and I give in to it. And this Gospel

says I have a better answer: call on Jesus Christ, wake him up. Don’t try to do it yourself,

you can’t. But Jesus Christ can, call on him! Come to Mass or something during the

week, open the Bible or listen to Relevant Radio, call on Christ in some way.

Don’t you see that if the wind and the sea obey him so will your anger or your

fears. When a crisis comes (and they are always good for us) don’t despair, call of Jesus

Christ and peace will return, the sea will be tranquil, your heart will be one with God’s.

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