Daily Devotional for January 20

January 20                                                       Mark 4:35-41


A famous painting in one of the churches in the city of Rome
depicts a large ark-like boat riding atop a storm-tossed ocean-
At the helm is the Pope. Behind him, crowded in the boat,
are bishops and clergy and lay people. The boat rides high in
the water far above the threatening waves. In the water all
sorts of drowning people try to reach and enter the boat which
will bring them to safety. [Two Columns Vision St. John Bosco?]


This image of the church is in sharp contrast to that of Mark's,
who describes the boat's captain as being sound asleep, the
boat itself as taking on water and being in danger of sinking,
and the terrified passengers as huddled together in fear. It is
hard to believe that anyone could sleep through the violent
storm that Mark describes, even after a hard day's work of
preaching and teaching.


Mark's account of the calming of the storm is meant to speak
directly to the disciples of Jesus. The story's purpose is to
encourage them to face the stresses of discipleship and to rely
on a deep, inner calm that strong faith can bring. The charge
of Jesus that they had little or no faith is probably a remem-
brance of their fears and discouragement following the death
of Jesus and before the Resurrection. [How could they have

'remembrance' of something in the future?]


As a disciple of the risen Christ called to be in the human family
and not safely above it, I, too, experience the storms that break
over the bow of the church. At times I fear drowning in the
debates and polarization that rock the church-ark over issues
of human sexuality, nuclear weapons, capital punishment,
abortion, and authority. My own faith at times is "little," and
I wonder if Jesus is not sleeping once again.


Today's Gospel reminds us that, in the eye of the hurricane,
there is a calm, peaceful center. In the midst of the storm, the
disciple can enter into the "I-am-present" of Jesus - and rest
in trust. [... and, in the storm, Jesus' power is revealed. L.M.]

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.

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