12th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): Who Then Is This?
(Adults, you could begin by reading the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
We have a short Gospel this Sunday. After a long day of teaching people about the Kingdom of God, getting them to think about parables, Jesus is tired. It is almost night, and Jesus and his friends make plans to cross a large lake in a boat to get to a place of rest. The journey across the water becomes rather exciting. Take a moment to read it.
Notice, at the end of the passage, the disciples ask an interesting question:
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
This is a question we can also ask ourselves. Who then is this? How would we answer this question about Jesus?
In one way, it seems like a silly question. The disciples do not need to ask, who is this; they already know he is Jesus. Why do they ask this question, then?
If someone asks us, "who are you?", we can answer by saying our name, but that doesn't say everything about who we are. Who do we belong to? Where do we come from? How do we act? All of this makes up who we are.
We can ask ourselves, how does this Gospel passage answer the disciples' question? We can look at how Jesus acts.
When the windstorm begins, Jesus is,
in the stern, asleep on the cushion
How can he do that? How can he sleep in the middle of a storm that is tossing the boat about on the waves? How can he sleep when water is coming into the boat? Even someone who is very tired would wake up in this storm. The disciples are frightened, and they do not sleep. Who then is this?
The only way that Jesus can sleep is if he is not frightened by the storm. Why? He must not fear because he has complete faith in God. He is completely rooted in God's plan, and trusts that God is with him. He knows he is not alone. Whatever happens, God is with him. Nothing can change that. Who then is this?
Jesus' actions are saying,
I AM the One firmly planted in God.
When the disciples are afraid, they turn to Jesus. Notice a repetition here:
they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
The disciples wake Jesus up and speak to him, and then Jesus wakes up? Does Jesus fall asleep again after they speak to him and has to wake up a second time? That doesn't make sense. What is St. Mark telling us? Who then is this?
There is no delay between Jesus waking up and acting. Does he discuss their fear with the disciples? Does he tell them just to have faith? No. He wakes up and commands the storm to be still. When Jesus knows that his friends are frightened, he acts. Who then is this?
Jesus' actions are saying,
I AM the One who saves.
Jesus' actions tell us something about who he is. But there is another way of finding the answer to the question, "who then is this?" Look what happens when Jesus speaks.
“Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
Jesus desires peace, and the wind obeys. Jesus wants stillness, and the waters respond. Jesus speaks and his will is done.
The wind has great power. Wind can knock over trees. Wind can sink ships. Wind can cool our burning cheeks when the sun tries to make them too hot. Over time, wind can even change the shape of rocks. But when Jesus wants peace, the wind holds back its power. Whose power is greater, then, the wind's or Jesus'?
The water has great power, too. Water can wash clean. Water can end thirst. Without water, there is no life, but water can also cause death. Water can cool our burning cheeks when the sun tries to make them too hot. Over time, water can even change the shape of rocks! But when Jesus wants stillness, the water holds back its power. Whose power is greater, then, the water's or Jesus'?
Even the wind and the water are still before him. Who then is this?
The wind and water are trying to answer the disciples' question. They know who he is. In the presence of Jesus, they are still. They are telling us all how to behave when we are with him.
We all rage and storm at times, don't we? We rush about busy with many things. The wind and the water remind us, though, that there are times when we need to hold back our power. We all need to hold back our power when we are with Jesus.
We need to be still and know that Jesus is the One firmly planted in God.
We need to be still and know that Jesus is the One who saves.
We need to,