January 8, 2003
Reading: 1 Jn 4:11-18
the five thousand men were satiated, Jesus obliged his disciples to
get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, towards Bethsaida,
while he himself sent the crowd away. And having sent the people off,
he went by himself to the hillside to pray.
evening came, the boat was far out on the lake while he was alone on
the land. Jesus saw his disciples straining at the oars, for the wind
was against them, and before daybreak he came to them walking on the
lake; and he was going to pass them by.
they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried
out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But at once he called
to them, "Courage! It's me; don't be afraid." Then Jesus got
into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely
astonished, for they had not really grasped the fact of the loaves;
their minds were dull.
disciples in the Gospel of Mark are an unbelievably dense group of men.
We see a sample of this in today's reading. They had witnessed the miracle
of the loaves and the fish the day before. They had just seen this great
marvel of Jesus, walking on the stormy waters. And yet, at the end,
Mark tells us that their astonishment was due to the fact that, even
after all that, "they had not really grasped the fact of the loaves;
their minds were dull." This is neither the first nor the last
time the disciples will not get the point. Their slowness to understand,
their severely limited faith and love will recur over and over again
in this gospel. What is most amazing, though, is Jesus' response to
all this. He could have changed this sorry lot and started over with
a new, more responsive set of followers. But he never does. He sticks
to these flawed human beings, with much patience (with some impatience
too!), and with enduring fidelity. There is much comfort here for the
fumbling, uncomprehending disciples of today!
from Bible Diary
2003 and Daily Gospel 2003
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