A New Creation

The smell of a new car seems to have the power to make everyone riding in it feel better and acquire an overall positive outlook. They admire its new features; they touch here and there; they stroke the upholstery; they let their eyes feast on all corners of its interior.

Today, we are reminded by St. Paul that “whoever is in Christ is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We need this reminder as so many events, along with painful circumstances and lingering worries keep us from capitalizing on what Christ has won for us in his Resurrection. If we lose sight of Christ’s victory over our worst enemies, we might get the sensation that the bumpy ride of our life is taken in an old clunker.

Being a new creation, brought about by the blood of Christ on the cross, must fill us with unwavering trust in his love, as well as excitement, enthusiasm and courage to face the challenges of life and tackle the menacing tempests which can do us in. Some tempests are as violent as the one reported in the Gospel passage (Mark 4:35-41) for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Others are protracted over a long time, even decades, and can consume us, little by little, from within.

Simon Peter was in that boat on lake Tiberias and now, through the pen of his protegee Mark, he shares with us all the details of this unusual event. The first detail can be easily overlooked. After an exhausting day of preaching the good news, the disciples prepare a comfortable spot and a cushion in the stern of the boat for Jesus to rest. His tiring work is done; Jesus falls asleep because the crossing of the lake is left in the hands of expert fishermen who are getting ready to fish along with the other boats that are there for the same purpose.

Nowadays too, Jesus has confidence in us and in our skills. He has given us bountiful gifts. He feels so confident in us, in our love for him and in our dedication that he is ready to “fall asleep.” Hence, the first question we must ask is: “am I generous with the talents, knowledge and skills the Lord has given me, or do I lead a life marked often by disengagement and indifference?” “Can Jesus have so much confidence in my goodwill to do my part for the Kingdom of God that he can fall asleep?” A second detail: Jesus remains asleep also during life-threatening storms. They happen suddenly with such violence that our talents, knowledge and skills are easily overwhelmed and we, already worn out by energy-consuming trials and worries, lose sight of the fact that Jesus is still asleep in the stern of our boat.

In the beginning he sleeps to let us know that he trusts us, and he counts on our love for him. But then, he intentionally remains asleep to assure us that with him we can weather any storm. Regrettably, like the disciples, we might focus on the waves breaking over the boat instead of finding comfort in the unusual fact that Jesus remains asleep even after being splashed by the waves.

A vital lesson is offered by his inexplicable behavior: Jesus does not guarantee us in any way, shape or form that we will be spared the tempests of life, but that, with our eyes fixed on him, we can go through very violent tempests in the least costly way. This lesson should be always combined with the frequent lesson of being forced by uncontrollable circumstances to scratch our plans and make the most of what is happening against our will. How quickly the disciples had to scratch their fishing plans and switch to a survival mode!

Being a new creation implies a set of new inner dispositions that are designed by our Heavenly Father to secure victory over all evils and successful arrival at our heavenly destination. Our enemies (the enemies of the Church and of the Gospel) count on us to get so panicky and disoriented that we kowtow to their godless impositions. However, the image of Jesus fast asleep must keep us in a fighting mode sustained by the firmest resolve.

If we live as a new creation, because we chose to have already Jesus with us when we go on board, we must become certain that the crossing over the most menacing waters will be successful no matter how bruised and pounded we will get. 

If we live as a new creation, we will never forget that we are living in the final era of the Church. It is the era in which the Risen Lord shares his victory over all wickedness and death itself with all those traversing the waters of evil with him in the stern of the boat.

If we live as a new creation, even facing our most terrifying tempests, we will never panic and wonder if he doesn’t care that we perish. There would be no need for him to rebuke us for our lack of faith because, once a week, we re-present for ourselves his supreme sacrifice on the cross as we gather to celebrate the Eucharist.

As a new creation, we should never be asking one another who Jesus is that even the angriest winds and seas obey. As such, we are bound to know, viscerally, that we are as precious to the Father as the Blood of his only Son; that his mastery over the scariest evils is unmatched, unstoppable and irreversible. Thus, we resolve to persevere in our fight against sin, falsehoods, hatred, indifference and rebellion to his will until, battle-tested, we will reach the heavenly shores and be with him for all eternity.

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