Do Not Be Afraid

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

November 20, 2022

Gospel – January 8, 2020 – Mark 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

Jesus has just performed a Miracle. He has fed the multitudes with 3 loves of bread and 2 fish. And there was more left after than when they began. How can you not know what you were just a part of there?

And yet people did not understand. We have the Bible and years of formation and yet do WE understand?

In my life God has done great things for me. When in Michigan as a young man in the Coast Guard we were often sent out for search and rescue missions – often for the wealthy. I was stationed on Lake St Clair near Detroit where there was great wealth. The wealthy often operate under different rules and find themselves in danger of their own making.

So, the Coast Guard gets called out. We had a 21’ open deck Boston Whaler. Great for speed and running search grids quickly. The problem is that storms would blow up quickly leaving our boat the worst place to be. Kind of like the disciples in today’s Gospel.

One occasion my boat mate and me were so absorbed in our search we missed the coming storm and found ourselves trapped in the middle of this huge lake with seas (waves) larger than our boat.

The Coast Guard motto, so appealing to a young man who grew up away from the sea – “You have to out, you don’t have to come back”- was suddenly not so romantic.

But we made it to calmer seas. God did that. Like Jesus today.

And he tells the apostles – “It is I” – as God told Moses – “I AM”.

2019 was my life once more on stormy seas in a too small boat. I know Jesus and I trust Jesus but there was a fear creeping in. The water was over the gunnels and my boat was near its end and me with it.

Losing my place, losing my ministry and then the seas calmed. Jesus once again said – “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”

He didn’t say I won’t have difficulties. He said that he’s here – do not fear.

I’m going to do that. How about you?

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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