You’ve no doubt heard of a dog or horse whisperer. I’m told on good authority that the TV presented a segment on a mouse whisperer of all things. A certain person was able to rid a house of mice. I don’t intend to be disrespectful to Jesus, but following today’s gospel, we could at least think of Jesus as the ‘ WIND WHISPERER’. By his extraordinary power he is reported to have controlled the wind.
THE WORDS AND WORKS OF JESUS
Several authors have used the title, ‘The words and works of Jesus.’ Naturally we associated the teachings of Jesus with his influence. The other major point of impact was his works. His healing of the sick and handicapped were naturally a welcome blessing even if somewhat confusing and unsettling in some cases.
Health and wellbeing has been a major cause of concern down through history. Hence we easily imagine his impact and response by people. What has been more contentious ever since, were the reports of the nature miracles; the feeding of the five thousand, the turning of water into wine, the walking on water and the calming of the storm.
In our world dominated by reason and scientific knowledge we find the common response is to dismiss such accounts as highly dubious. The common claim is that the accounts of these miracles, have been exaggerated by the overly enthusiastic early followers of ‘The Way’ (as Christianity was originally called.)
CALMING THE STORM
Today’s gospel tells us of the disciples sailing their boat across the sea of Galilee when a massive storm hit. All feared for their life. Jesus was in a different frame of mind, calmly resting upon a cushion in the stern of the boat seemingly oblivious to the surrounding panic. They awaken him, then witness him authoritatively rebuking the wind with the words, ‘Peace be still’, then the wind ceased and there was dead calm.
Did it happen? Could it have happened? It remains a perennial question for some regarding any of the miracles.
A MEASURING STICK
The greatest challenge we face in reflecting upon the miracles is found in Jesus words:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.
It would seem that we have an awful long way to go with our faith. Not just individually, but as a society as a humanity. In fact, I am not going to suggest that our task is to emulate Jesus by displaying such capacities. What I believe, is that we can share a similar attitude of mind
THE MIRACLE TELLS US ABOUT THE DISCIPLES.
At the time of Jesus, people were still what we would regard as ‘simply educated’, yet religiously vital. Understanding tended to be somewhat mythical. From very early times it seems humans associated the condition and behaviour of the creation with the actions of the Gods. Jesus here entered this domain of life with his own words of authority.
It was not just the calming of the storm that would have impacted the disciples lives, but the identification with powers normally associated with their God. All that he did kept on challenging them about their understanding of God.
TELLS US ABOUT JESUS AND CREATION
From our perspective today by reflecting upon this event, even though we don’t know definitively about the precise happening, we can reflect upon the attitude of Jesus toward nature. He worked with it. And from this can we not conclude that the divine maintains a working relationship with creation: That the spirit is not separate from but continues a creative interaction with nature.
The faith perspective speaks of creation as the handiwork of God. Authors like Panikkar use the Latin term, creatio continua, i.e., a continuous process of creating. Creation is full of the vitality of creative life or energy. They are not two separates, spirit and matter, they combine in the dance of life. Science itself now paints this complex and comprehensive reality of creation.
The faith traditions see the hands of God integrally interwoven in its picture, whether within the macro or micro perspective. As we reflect upon the Gospel, we may not know exactly what happened on the lake. But we can deduce Jesus message that the divine and created are one.
CAN WE DO GREATER
Let’s return to Jesus challenging statement: “You will do greater things than these.” Of course individually we may not display the same powers of Jesus.Yet we have sent people to the moon and created microscopes to probe the farthest reaches of space. We have built Dams in deserts, flown around the world in a day. We have separated Siamese twins and transplanted hearts. You know the picture. Collectively humanity has done great things. In one sense we have fulfilled Jesus prediction.
Can we draw a parallel between Jesus calming the storm and what humanity has collectively accomplished? Maybe...
In my mind, one point to highlight, is the relationship between the divine and our worldly reality. The challenge for humanity is to see creation as the handiwork of God.When we live in harmony with creation and see it as the home of the divine then we help bring it to its full potential. If we treat it as though it is purely for our use and abuse, we not only denigrate it. But we denigrate ourselves, and ultimately God.
To capture the attitude of Jesus toward creation, an attitude that is reflected in his life, maybe we should recall a most pertinent teaching of Jesus that identifies our lesson in this calming of the storm.
“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth”