Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
How exhausted Jesus must have been to fall asleep this way, unaware of the storm on the lake and of his friends’ panic… How exasperated his friends must have felt, at their wit’s ends, already seeing themselves thrown overboard and disappearing in the dark waters, with the man they follow asleep in the stern…
Why is it, then, that this passage brings so much peace to my heart, my mind, and my soul? All I want to do is stay next to him and watch him sleep…
We often think that a Gospel event happened once and for all, that all we can do is revisit it and try to understand what it means for us today. I have a hunch, however, that Jesus being with us always, can be found in every frightening event, wherever it takes place.
I remember a Haitian jesuit telling us shortly after 9/11 that Jesus was with all those who crashed down to their death on that day. Jesus is wherever awful events take place, and Godde knows, such atrocities are happening all over the world all the time.
I will go one step further. The men in the boat were following Jesus without understanding who he truly was. It took His death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit in their lives for them to realize what had truly happened. We need not be afraid in the boat, therefore, whether he is asleep or not, for we know that he is with us always. Not only does he calm the tempest again and again, but he empowers us to assist him with our hands, legs, voices, and lives… We know that even if the tempest is not stopped, He will give us whatever strength we need to overcome our own fears.
Maybe this is why I like so much to sit next to Jesus asleep. I feel connected and loved. Gratefulness fills my heart, and I too fall asleep.
Picture found here