In the gospel for today (Mk6:45-52) we find the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee in their boat. Jesus had stayed behind on the shore, going up the mountain alone to pray. As evening falls, the weather gets bad, and the Apostles have a hard time rowing to their destination. From His position on the mountain, Jesus “saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them.” Later that night, they are still on the sea, struggling against the elements, when, suddenly, they see Him coming toward them walking on the water. The gospel then says something mysterious: “He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out… But at once He spoke with them: ‘Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!’” Jesus gets into the boat with them, and the wind dies down. “They were completely astounded.”
The passage points to the mastery of Christ over all things. As God, it is an act of humility for Him to experience the world as man. Even the extraordinary things, such as walking on the waters in the midst of the storm, is an act of humility. That the air might fill His lungs is a gift to the air; that waters might touch the soles of His venerable feet, and carry Him, is a gift to the sea. He experiences no distress as He traverses the Sea of Galilee in this way. And if it appears strange that He meant to pass them by, even as they were in the midst of their struggles, we might remember that the whole scene is profoundly strange. It reveals that He is utterly and completely sovereign. It is good for us to be reminded of this when we find ourselves struggling against things, powers and events, beyond our control. We might be afraid, exhausted, confused, sad. But we take consolation in the truth that anything that contributes to whatever suffering we might experience in life is nothing compared to the sovereignty of Christ, Our Savior.