Have Faith
Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time - B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

When Saint Mark wrote his gospel the Christian community was going through a period of great persecution. Not only did the Jewish and Roman authorities persecute them, their families, friends and fellow workers also persecuted them as if they were heretics simply because what they were faithfully following Christ’s teachings. Many Christians had already suffered martyrdom. Others were afraid and abandoned their faith. So Mark wrote his gospel to give Christians a encourage them to continue to believe in Jesus.

Today, the Gospel Reading tells us that one day our Lord embarked on a fishing boat and sailed with his disciples across the Sea of Galilee. The journey should not have been very long and it was usually peaceful but, all of a sudden, a storm arose with strong winds and waves. Water began to enter into the boat and even through the disciples fought with all their might against hurricane force winds and waves they were unable to bale out the great quantity of water that was cascading into the boat. They went through many panic-stricken moments. While all of this was going on, Jesus slept peacefully. So the disciples, filled with fear, decided to awaken Him, saying, “Master, do you not care if we sink?” When He was awakened, the Lord immediately saw the danger. He stood up and said to the sea and the wind, “Silence, be still!” And, at once, everything calmed down.

Jesus was surprised when He saw the lack of faith of His disciples. He scolded them, saying, “Why are you acting so cowardly? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples, totally confused, commented among themselves, “Who then is this whom even the wind and the waves obey?”

Years later, these same disciples were sent to preach the Word. They were the first Christian missionaries. Christ sent them to proclaim the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God to the Jews. This was a consoling message that should have been received with joy but Jesus knew that he was sending his followers like sheep among wolves. That was the reason that, before he sent them, he warned them that they would be persecuted for preaching the Word of God, that many would not accept it. But even though they saw that many did not accept the Word, they gained strength from their faith and continued to preach. The Apostles fought their fear courageously and continued forward even though they were subjected to great pressure to stop preaching.

The best thing that we Christians can do for the world is to announce and proclaim, without fear, the true Word, just as Christ taught it. Today the world is going through a grave crisis of faith. There is much confusion about what the true doctrine of Christ really is. Given these circumstances, many Christians are not reacting positively. They are not defending their faith courageously.

Just like the Apostles, we also are subject to being despised, to be made a ridicule of, even to be persecuted for defending our faith. And just like He said to the Apostles, Jesus says to us, “Why are you acting so cowardly? Do you still have no faith?” We should always remember that if Jesus sees that we are defending Him, He will give us the confidence and the courage to freely preach His Word. And with his help we will overcome adversity. The only thing that a Christian should fear is living in sin and, even more so, living in sin without wanting to repent. By sin we lose our contact with God and without God we are nothing. Without His help, to whom can we go?