JUNE 21, 2009
MARK 4: 35-41
I grew up in a Bronx apartment. In the apartment directly above us lived Harriet and Ray Bauer. They were very good friends of our family. I called them Aunt Harriet and Uncle Ray even though they were not blood relatives. But they were Lutherans and went to a Lutheran church each Sunday. At that time, I was taught that there was no salvation outside the Catholic Church. That meant to me that Harriet and Ray would have to burn even though they were wonderful people.
So I questioned this teaching. My experience did not jive with what I was taught. I was in conflict about my question. Fortunately, in my mid-20s the Church changed its teaching. Harriet and Ray could be saved outside the Church and would not have to burn.
Asking questions is how we grow and grow up. If mom says to eat my spinach, and I ask, "Why do I have to eat spinach?" what if mom answers with a whack and says, "Because I say so." I would get an answer that does not help my question. I would eat spinach because mom has the power, but when I grew up and moved away, I would not eat spinach. I would boycott it because no one gave me an adequate answer. Then one day I would read that spinach is healthy for me. I would have moved beyond rebelling against mom, and into an interest in good health. Now spinach answers a desire that I have. It answers the questions I have about healthy eating.
Asking questions helps us find out things about ourselves and about God and religion. The disciples in the gospel ask Jesus if he cares that they are drowning. Their question reveals that they do not have much faith. The disciples have learned something about themselves from posing their question. After Jesus quiets the storm, the disciples ask a second question. "Who is this?" They don't yet have an answer, but they will stay with the question and eventually they will get the answer.
They do not know who Jesus is because what they have been taught does not fit into the Incarnation. They might be looking for a political messiah who will free them from Roman rule and restore Israel to religious self-rule. What they were taught up to then could not answer the question, "Who are you?"
To grow in our faith and religious practice of prayer, worship and reading scripture, we will have questions. Our life experiences may not fit the answers that are given to us. One question we might ask is "Who am I?" Jesus might have to help us to become quiet and still to work on that question.
Monday, June 22, 2009
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
JUNE 21, 2009