Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stormy Sea ~ Yet I Can't Stop Singing


Sea of Galilee ~ Stormy indeed! 

As soon as it was over he made his disciples embark and cross to Bethsaida ahead of him, while he himself sent the people away. After taking leave of them, he went up the hill-side to pray. It grew late and the boat was already well out on the water, while he was alone on the land. Somewhere between three and six in the morning, seeing them labouring at the oars against a head-wind, he came towards them, walking on the lake. He was going to pass them by; but when 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 spoke to them: "Take heart! It is I; do not be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat beside them, and the wind dropped. At this they were completely dumbfounded, for they had not understood the incident of the loaves; their minds were closed. Mark 6: 45-52

This gospel scene follows immediately after the account of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, (scroll down to January 5th, 2016).  Jesus has fed the crowds and they  pack things up quickly. Maybe he senses bad weather is coming. Or perhaps Jesus doesn't want to be associated with nationalistic things. Jesus and nationalism don't mix. Even Mass ends quickly after Holy Communion (how sad some folks won't wait that little bit). 

Then Jesus went up the hillside to pray. Going up a mountain or a hill always signifies an encounter with God. Prayer is the flight of the heart to God, Father Alexander Men said. The mountain then is ultimately an interior experience, isn't it?

Between three and six in the morning - a very dark time, but a new day is drawing near. Can you name that? The very dark time? And the disciples are wearying - labouring is the word. They're tired and really up against the odds. The Sea of Galilee can experience terrific storms as it's surrounded by mountains and hills that act as funnels for the wind! How frightening for them. Again - name it for yourself? I'll name it for the world: weary, terrified, exhausted, going under. 

And he spoke to them. Jesus doesn't give them a volume to read or deliver a lecture, but he speaks to their hearts, their fearful hearts. He even gets into the boat and sits down next to them - like a mother sitting on the bedside of a child suffering night terrors and bad dreams! Christ our mother, Saint Juliana says. And the wind drops. It'll be okay. We're known by God personally. It matters to God that we exist.

Their minds were closed. Not to say they were set against Jesus - but their minds were shut down, not being able to comprehend. This is beyond imagining. We limit God terribly or we can't handle God's surprises. Father Walsh, the founder of the American missionary community, Maryknoll, used to say to the newly ordained priests being sent around the world on Departure Day: "Remember, wherever you land, God was there long before you arrived." What a surprise to the zealous young man who thought he was going to a faraway place - even to pagans (such a condescending term) - and to have it announced, God is here already! 

Dallyn Vail Bayles sings the perfect hymn in response to this Gospel: How Can I Keep From Singing. Listen to the powerful lyrics which we will so easily identify in our own lives. The images that accompany the song are stunning. At the end - be silent. You may need some moments to recover anyway. 



18 comments:

  1. Oh wow! I read the highlighted text and I too forget what God has done. I am returned to , "recount my works" and here you have it all in this video and song. It's time to put a weekend together, at least I know there are 4 of us who want to come in early spring! I so look forward to the days you write and am glad it is not everyday. I wish I yearned for Eucharist this way. That's my prayer. Blessings for you this new year for strength and perseverance to continue to inspire!

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    1. I'm glad for the interest in a retreat here. Gather your group and pick a date. Let's get it on the calendar.

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  2. As I read through this post, I could not help but thinking what a fresh and understandable explanation of this Gospel was here. A light bulb goes on and it all suddenly makes the most perfect sense. The song summed up my emotions most surely.

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    1. Isn't the song wonderful! We have to keep singing! For all the troubles - there's still good. And the "light bulb" going on suddenly. What a wonderful gift-moment that is!

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  3. A great presentation of this Gospel reading Father. I am grateful when you dissect the lines and break them down into meaningful snippets. A helpful approach.

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    1. And how happy for me, to have this technology available. I'm glad this approach works for people - thanks for letting me know. A little gospel piece that can stand on its own is called a pericope.

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  4. I have heard various renditions of this hymn, but none like this. Beautiful choice for making your point. The images fill me with joy.

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  5. I am often surprised and delighted when I do my homework to create these posts. This rendition, with the accompanying pictures, brought BIG JOY for me too.

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  6. Another great Gospel lesson. I am stocking up as our second semester starts next week.

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    1. Do you put up the posts on a smart board? Or do the students bring the them up on their phones? I'm very interested in how you share them with the class.

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    2. Not a SMART Board, but similar in that the image from a computer screen can be brought up on a large white screen for the class to view together. At the end of a lesson, when there is time, I like to discuss different topics with them. Many of these posts will work wonderfully. They can share their thoughts in an open forum. I have a feeling that they will find this more interesting than a reading passage from their religion books. And the comments that follow will also provide a learning experience. We all see things differently.

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    3. Of course, if they send a comment here as a class I'll respond. We could have a little dialogue.

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  7. Don't you just feel so light, as though you are flying through God's majesty while you're watching the video. Magnificent! Thanks for sharing your good find with us as well as your gospel thoughts. Always a good read and important message.

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  8. Some years ago I stayed with some monks for two weeks in a hermitage at the end of the forest. The monastery was on the top of the mountain and sometimes the clouds were below. I lived IN the thunder. It was wonderful

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  9. So lovely and alive with translations and observations of the gospels of Our Lord. It is a heart thing. Thank you for your efforts.

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  10. Sounds like this connect with Sarah could open the door to great possibilities for bringing Jesus and the gospels, art and music in a more receptive way to the young. Maybe, its our turn to light a candle for Father and his plans. Come Holy Spirit!

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  11. Thank you Fr. Stephen for both your words on the gospel and the beautiful music. Truly, as we remember that God's universe is the only real one-the invisible one behind the one we experience with our limited physical senses, we rejoice and can't help but sing! It is comforting and we are encouraged. Inwardly, the rough seas are calmed by our recalling that the Christ, God, is always available to us.

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