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(Part 21)


January 9, 2013
Today’s gospel: Mark 6:45-52

Jesus is God, and so he is able to work miracles and wonders. In this incident, Jesus is “walking on the sea” (Mk 6:49a), and when he got into the boat “the wind died down.” (Mk 6:51a).

In our work of evangelization we also witness many signs and wonders. This is but natural, for we serve the Almighty God, who manifests His power in different ways. In our work, because we are God’s instruments empowered by His Spirit, because we act in faith, we are able to work wonders. Now there are different ways by which we react to such wonders.

One, we become “terrified” (Mk 6:50a). Let us face it. We know ourselves. Many of us come from dark lives in the world. Then we come into the light of Christ. Then we begin to serve him. As we do, he enables us to work wonders. Now that can be quite unsettling. We receive gifts of healing, or miracles, or prophecy, and we do not quite know what to make of it. We begin to be afraid of what God might be demanding of us. We fear where it will all lead, as God uses us more and more. So Jesus tells us, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mk 6:50b). We must realize that God calls us and uses us. We are mere instruments. It is Jesus acting in and through us. He will always be there for us.

Two, we fail to understand (Mk 6:52a). When God acts through signs and wonders, He is revealing Himself to us, to the world. God is not just a performer, out to impress the crowds. Every act is meant to make Himself known to a people He loves and wants to bless, and to disciples He wants to teach and use. Thus we must not only savor a wondrous deed God enables us to perform, but we must pray and discern and seek God’s wisdom on what He is teaching us and where He is leading us to go. Every so often, we must do as Jesus did, as “he went off to the mountain to pray.” (Mk 6:46b).

Three, our “hearts are hardened.” (Mk 6:52b). Hardness of heart comes when one does not accept Jesus, or does not accept what Jesus is trying to tell us. Even as we are already serving God, we might have our own ideas, agenda, priorities, preferences, and so on. When God tries to make us accept some things or go in certain directions which we do not prefer, we resist. We make justifications. We rationalize. We reject. We harden our hearts. Such attitudes prevent us from comprehending Jesus’ self-revelation though signs and wonders.

Four, we are “completely astounded.” (Mk 6:51b). Now this is the proper reaction. We must be awed and amazed and astonished at what God does. We must know that He is Almighty God for whom nothing is impossible. We must know that the Spirit blows where and as He wills. We must never lose our childlike awe at God’s revelations. We must eagerly and joyfully accept. We must bow down in worship. We must know that we are mere instruments who are nothing apart from His grace and power, but as He wills, are able to also perform signs and wonders.

Jesus sends us forth to do his work. We proclaim him and we prepare the way for him to return in glory. “Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side” (Mk 6:45a). Our work will be challenging, as we oppose the forces of darkness. While we soar with the wind of the Spirit, there is also the enemy blocking and counter-attacking. At times we will experience what Jesus’ disciples did, as “they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them.” (Mk 6:48a). At times we may feel Jesus is very far from our work, as if our “boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.” (Mk 6:47). We may feel he is absent from our life, as if for an indefinite period “he had taken leave of (us)” (Mk 6:46a). At times we might sense his presence, but being unmindful of our needs and problems, as the disciples probably did, when “he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them.” (Mk 6:48c). At times we might encounter him, but not recognize the God who loves and cares for us, the God who lives and walks with us, as we think he is a ghost (Mk 6:49b), unreal amidst our urgent cares and concerns.

But we must always know that Jesus is there for us. He is the one who sends us forth into the world, and he is the one who is committed to care for us. He allows us to experience pains and trials and challenges as part of the refining process. But Jesus will always get “into the boat with (us) and the wind (will die) down.” (Mk 6:51a).

Expect those signs and wonders, for faith works wonders. Just continue to BE.LI.EV.E!

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