3rd Saturday of the Year (30 Jan 2010)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Hearing snippets of chapters of the gospels allows us to mull over what we hear in a snippet and apply it to ourselves. That’s important. One drawback in hearing snippets is that we may miss details, which help us appreciate Jesus and others in the gospels. Just as he was is today’s detail.
Hearing over a few days Jesus embark on his parable-teaching, we may miss that Mark described all we have recalled over four days, Jesus did in a single day. Jesus was in a boat moored at the shore for much of it. He continued to teach the Twelve and those with them until evening. So the detail just as he was suggests tired, hungry, a bit smelling of fish and maybe damp. Jesus was one like those he taught and formed to do his work.
Just as he was is no throwaway line. It helps us appreciate Jesus asleep, as well as the disciples afraid of the violent squall, the wind and the sea and in awe of Jesus, who calmed and stilled them. They did not yet know Jesus, who was also like them.
Even we can be surprised at thinking we know ourselves. We may feel certain about ourselves, but grace often surprises us. For example, David thought that the way he worked things for his own pleasure was something he could conceal. Nathan and David’s conversation allowed David to apply the principle of treating others as we want to be treated. David realized he had violated that principle, and had rendered on himself his verdict on another, saying to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord [and merit death].” Nathan answered David: “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.”
Cultivating an openness and a willingness to be surprised helps us appreciate Jesus, at once fully human and fully divine. Cultivating an openness and a willingness to be surprised helps us appreciate ourselves as loved sinners. That felt knowledge makes effective our efforts to continue Jesus’ work as we deepen our relationship with him.
Wiki-image of Jesus calming a storm is in the public domain.