“Avoiding the ‘plank’ of transient assurances and embracing the ‘Rock’ of Everlasting Refuge!”
(Based on Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 and Mk 4:35-41 – Saturday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)
A captain of a ship – quite deep rooted in his faith and love for Christ – was addressing a group of teenage boys and girls.
He told them, “My dear young ones! Do not get swayed by your emotions and feelings, in your life of faith.
When you are struggling in the waters of sin, and you try to get closer to hold the hands of Jesus, you know what does the devil do?
He holds out a plank of ‘false feelings and assurances’ and says – ‘Get on to this… and you will feel better!
And when you lose focus from Jesus and step on to that ‘plank,’ he pulls it out…
… and your state of life will be worse than before!
Therefore my friends, remember always…
… Depend not on false feelings. Depend on Your Faith!
… Lose not your focus from Jesus. Allow His Hands to uphold you!
Avoid the plank of transient assurances.
Embrace the Rock of Everlasting Refuge!”
The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful encounter of the disciples experiencing “the waves of struggles”…
… and being reminded to “Embrace the Rock of Everlasting Refuge!”
It’s a very late evening… nearing midnight…
The disciples along with Jesus, who have embarked on a boat, are caught in the midst of a heavy storm.
“A violent squall came up and the waves were breaking over the boat…” (Mk 4: 36)
Some of the disciples were fishermen.
They had been many years at the sea.
They had often suffered the fury and vehemence of nature
They had been greatly used to many storms and tempests at sea.
But this storm seemed to be too fierce and too ferocious.
The disciples feared greatly!
The disciples panicked very much!
With death bells ringing in their ears, and a dreadful end before their eyes…
… the disciples were shocked to see Jesus, unmoved and unperturbed.
The Gospel says that “Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion” (Mk 4:38)
In the moment of their deep anguish and helpless, the disciples cry out:
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:38)
The boat could capsize anytime and all of them could be drowned soon…
The storms could lash brutally and the waves could overturn them any moment…
Time was fast running…
But Jesus seemed totally unfazed!
Jesus seemed totally disinterested!
So they cried out to Jesus… Lord, do you not care?!
How many times have we screamed similar words to God:
“Lord, do you not care?”
Lord, do you not care… that my family member is so sick?
Lord, do you not care… that I feel totally alone and miserable in my life?
Lord, do you not care… that my marriage is failing and my family is breaking up?
Lord, do you not care… that am without a job now and the future ahead is so bleak?
Lord, do you not care… that my life seems so meaningless and without any purpose?
Lord, do you not care… that I am plunged to loneliness and abandoned by all my friends?
Lord, do you not care that I encounter only failures, dejection and rejection in my endeavours?
When we look into the Gospel, it is amazing to know whose plan it was, in the first place to make this boat journey…
When we re-read the Gospel passage, we find the answer…
Mk 4:35 says, “On that day, as evening drew near, Jesus said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side!’”
Shall we read that again?
… JESUS said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side!”
The idea to go in the boat was not that of the disciples…
The idea to go in the boat was that of JESUS!
The encounter with the storms was not some accident!
The stumbling into the violent waves was not some unlucky thing!
It had a purpose!
It had a meaning!
It had an intention!
For the disciples, it was a moment of terror…
… But the Lord used this terrorizing time to teach them to have faith in Him!
For the disciples, it was a time of immense crisis…
… But the Lord used this critical moment, to teach them to trust in Him!
For the disciples, it was a time of dreadful fear…
… But the Lord used this fearful circumstance, to teach them to believe in Him!
The disciples – who had stepped on the “plank of fear”- were given a lesson: Lose not your focus from Jesus. His Hands will uphold you always!
Our moments of struggle are a time of testing…
Our moments of struggle are a time of learning…
Testing of our genuine faith… learning of deeper trusting!
Testing of our real convictions… learning of profound dependence!
The Lord reminds us of His Sovereignty, as he asked Job, who was going through the sea of sufferings: “Who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst out from the womb?
When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors…” (Job 38: 8-10)
When life takes us through the “waves of sin and struggle,” let us not get fascinated by the devil’s allurement to step on the plank of “false feelings and assurances”
Instead let us avoid the plank of transient assurances…
… and “embrace the Rock of Everlasting Refuge!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – SACRAMENT OF THE SICK
From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil.
Over the centuries, the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death.
Because of this it received the name “Extreme Unction.”
Notwithstanding this evolution, the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health if it would be conducive to his salvation. (CCC #1512)