Readings: Job 38:1,8-11; Ps 106(107); 2 Cor 5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41 Theme: Forces of Nature and Divine Authority
The book of Job is not unfamiliar to many people. However, only a few people can say they have read the entire book. Many people are conversant with the beginning of the book where Satan struck Job and the narrative about his ordeals (cf. Job 1-2). His wife, at some point, asked him to curse God and die (Job 2:9). His three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, asked him to admit his guilt and that he was suffering as a result of his sins. Job stood his ground that he was innocent and did nothing wrong to deserve all the evils that had befallen him. Job sought an opportunity to meet with God and lay his case before him, to prove his innocence (cf. Job 23).
In our reading today, we have part of God’s revelation and response to the request of Job from the heart of the tempest or whirlwind. God’s answer to Job is rhetorical. The first question is, ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?’ (Job 38:3). God reminds Job that he is the creator of heaven and earth? Then he asks Job about the sea and the clouds if he has power over them. Who pent up or shut up the sea behind closed doors? Who made the black clouds its swaddling bands? In the end, Job said, ‘behold I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.’ (Job 40:3-5). Job admitted that he cannot withstand God and His work in creation and that he was wrong for questioning God and claiming innocence. We, too, maybe ignorant about the work of God in creation even when we feel nature around us. The wind, the clouds, the rain and every natural event, do not escape the eyes of God. Every force in nature is subject to God’s authority.
The Psalmist highlights the authority of God and ‘the wonders he does in the deep.’ It is a psalm of thanksgiving to God for his deliverance of his people from many troubles. God reveals his power over the sea for sailors. ‘He spoke, he summoned the gale, tossing up the waves of the sea that their souls melted away… They cried to the Lord in their distress, and God stilled the storm to a whisper, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they rejoiced at the calm and thanked the Lord for the wonders he does for men.’ It is as if the Psalmist is speaking about the experience of the disciples in the gospel.
Jesus, the God made man, exercises his authority over the forces of nature. Jesus was with his disciples in a boat. There was a heavy wind that the waves were breaking into the boat, and they were almost drowning. Meanwhile, Jesus was in the inner part of the boat sleeping, probably because he had worked hard and was tired. His absence exposed the level of the disciples’ faith at that moment. They woke Jesus and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ One can imagine the frustration of the disciples, like the men who were with Jonah in the ship while Jonah was asleep, just like Jesus (cf. Joh 1). Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, saying to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ Jesus spoke to both the wind and the sea. Both elements in nature obeyed him because all authority in heaven and on earth are subject to him (cf. Matt 28:18; Phil 2). Jesus rebuked his disciples for lack of faith, questioning why they were afraid. The Word of God, through whom everything in heaven and earth was created, was present in the boat. Yet, the disciples were still fearful because they had not yet fully known who Jesus was. Hence, they said, ‘who can this be?’
Indeed, who can this be, if not God made man? Jesus came into the world out of love to reveal the love of God. In the second reading, Paul tells us, ‘The love of Christ overwhelms
us when we reflect that one man has died for all.’ His death challenges us to live no longer for ourselves but for Jesus, who died and rose for us. In other words, we should have faith in Jesus and live no longer according to the world’s standard. We are a new creation in Jesus Christ. We do not need to be afraid of any force in nature, not even death. Jesus has conquered every force in nature and given us the same power over them.