Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday after Epiphany (1)

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday after Epiphany
Theme: Do not be afraid
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Wednesday January 5 2022
Mk 6:45-52
Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were [completely] astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
In yesterday’s Gospel, we hear about the great miracle of feeding the five thousand men from five loaves of bread and two fish. The people are truly impressed by this incident. The disciples are also enjoying the attention and admiration of the crowd on account of Jesus. They have no intention of leaving the place. But Jesus do not want them to lose their focus on the mission. So, He sends the crowd away and “made His disciples get into the boat.” The use of the word “made” implies that they did not go very willingly.
Jesus Himself goes to the mountains to pray alone and commune with His heavenly Father. He must have been affected also by the enthusiasm of the crowd, so He hastens to be away from them and renew His commitment to the Father’s will and His mission.
While Jesus is in prayer and solitude, the disciples are in big trouble. They encounter a strong storm on the lake and their boat is being tossed by the wind and waves. The Lord cannot ignore their plight. So, at around three o’clock in the morning (‘fourth watch of the night’), He comes to them walking on the water. He acts as if He intends to pass them by. When the disciples saw Him from a distance, they do not recognize Him and think they are seeing a ghost. They are all the more terrified. Jesus hastens to reassure them: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
As soon as He gets into the boat, the wind suddenly dies down. They are all filled with amazement. They have not yet understood the meaning of the miracle of the loaves and here comes another more spectacular miracle of walking on the stormy waters. This is because, as Mark notes, “their hearts were hardened.” They only see the miracles, but fail to see the deeper meaning of the events as tangible expressions of God’s love and care for His people.
The miracle on the lake is not just another display of divine power. It brings up profound symbolisms that help deepen our understanding of the faith. The boat is traditionally the symbol of the Church, the community of believers. The rough and dangerous sea is the world. There are times when the world is rough and hostile to the Church, as in the case of persecutions and various attacks. But Jesus is present: “It is I.” Literally, in Greek, “ego eimi” (‘translated, “I AM”) – God’s own name. Jesus is God Incarnate. He has absolute powers over the forces of nature in the world. Hence, His admonition: “Do not be afraid!”
Sometimes Jesus seems to be passing by, but He is never far away. We just need to call on Him, and He loses no time to be with us in our troubled boat. Just the knowledge and assurance of the presence of Jesus should cast out all fears and bring peace and calm in our hearts. Jesus is the source of true peace. As we begin the New Year, let us be confident in the thought that we can weather any storm ahead of us because we know that Jesus never leaves us nor will He ever abandon us.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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