Today’s excerpt from an evangelist (Mk 4:35-41) tells the story of Jesus and some disciples in a boat in the midst of a storm. Jesus is awakened by these men when they begin to fear for their lives. Jesus calms the sea and sky and questions their faith. They are awestruck at Jesus’ power.
It did not strike me until today the connection between this passage and the scene of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane immediately before His arrest (Mt 26:36-46 and Lk 22:39-46). Recall that Jesus brings His closest friends, Peter, James, and John with Him. He asks them to “watch and pray” while He goes through His greatest trial yet being “sorrowful even to death,”; an event in which He experiences “sorrow,” “distress,” and “agony.” Three times Jesus returns to find them sleeping but chalks up their weakness to fleshly reasons. Yet when Jesus is needed, even though asleep, He responds immediately to His disciples needs, calming their fears in a matter of moments.
The disciples think they are facing death in the boat so they call on Jesus and He makes the situation better. Jesus is really facing death and He has no one to support and pray for Him.
Jesus is there for us even when we are not there for Him. Let us strive always to be attentive to Him and to others. May we never be caught asleep on the job.