The storm described in Mark 4:35-41 is perhaps one of the most important lessons of the Christian faith. The disciples panic as Jesus sleeps peacefully, seemingly ignoring the violent forces rocking the fragile barque of Peter.
The storm is there as a parable, a metaphor. Like all the storms in our life, it is there to serve as a mirror for our lack of faith. When we anxiously start asking ourselves where is our God, we are not attached to the Cross. We have joined the enemies that mocked Jesus saying: “Where is your God!” (See Mark 10: 34, Matthew 27:38-44)
Christ is firmly attached to the Cross. He has lost everything except his mother, a young faithful disciple, and a few women of his following. Even his clothes have been taken by the Roman soldiers. Life is pouring out of Jesus’ body after 48 hours without sleep, brutal torture, and a grueling ascent from Jerusalem to the top of Golgotha.
The disciples still present at Calvary have one thing in common: they are people without power: a young man in his late teens and a few women of no social importance. The powerful fist of the Roman Emperor, influenced by the local religious leaders, is crushing a poor Rabbi condemned in an irregular trial rife with violations of the Mosaic Law. That is raw power disguised under a thin veil of hypocritical justice.
The meek, calm acceptance of the Cross by Christ is a model of a perfect faith. Christians are expected to follow him everywhere: “… They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:4) The complete acceptance of suffering by Christ on the Cross is a sign of utter impotence, total powerlessness. But it is a powerlessness with a purpose, a secret mission that no one could possibly guess. The mission is accomplished without any exterior sign of struggle. The impotence of God is stronger than the strength of men: the enemies of Christ died as it is proper of their human condition. But Christ rose from the dead, the lamb leading the elect to a new kind of life. As Christ gave his last breadth, he is giving life to an entirely new human race.
The followers of the Lamb are called to accept their own cross, to remain calm, undisturbed as the storm roars.
“Nada te turbe, nada te espante, todo se pasa, Dios no se muda.” Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, everything passes, God does not change.
“Id, pues, bienes del mundo; id, dichas vanas, aunque todo lo pierda, sólo Dios basta.” Go, therefore, wordly possessions; go vain joys, even if I lose everything, only God is enough.”
(St. Teresa de Ávila, 1515-1582)
If we simply stay put before Christ and hear him, we will be like Mary the sister of Martha choosing the best portion: to be with Jesus. The Cross is her portion. She is sitting at the foot of the Cross, solid like a rock. What can possibly be more important than listening to the words of the Word, the Logos that created everything by simple utterance? Let his words come into our being and create us anew.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
“Martha, you are worried and upset about many things” just like the disciples worrying about the storm. If we work hard to achieve security at the expense of not hearing Christ, we work in vain. In that perfection of the spirit, in powerlessness, we can thread upon the troubled waters of life. Christ walking over the depth of the Sea of Galilee reminds us of the Spirit of God hovering over the primordial chaos in Genesis 1:1. Ruah, wind, mere air in motion is enough to tame darkness and disorder into light and order. The breath of God dominates upon matter and energy.
The weakness of God gives life, human strength ends in death.
God accepting to be human, letting his children nail Him to a Roman cross is an enormous lesson. Real power resides in powerlessness. The riches of the universe are resting right behind serving the poor and powerless. The unfathomable joys of Heaven are hiding behind the powerlessness of the Cross.