On that same day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” So they left the crowd, and took him along in the boat he had been sitting in, and other boats set out with him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat, so that it was soon filled with water. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
They woke him up, and said, “Master, don’t you care if we drown?” And rising up, Jesus rebuked the wind, and ordered the sea, “Quiet now! Be still!” The wind dropped, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?”
But they were terrified, and they said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
There is something a bit comical in the episode reported in today’s first reading. And this comic side of a story which, in itself, is quite dramatic (it involves the death of Uriah the Hittite and of David’s illegitimate child) arises from the fact that David is unable to connect the dots and see through Nathan’s little parable. He is spiritually blind and does not really see his guilt in his adulterous affair with Bathsheba—until Nathan spells it out to him: “You are this man!”
The end of the story (the illness and death of Bathsheba’s baby) is of course a very debatable interpretation on the part of Nathan. In typical Old Testament fashion, when witnessing an untoward event (such as the death of a baby), people spontaneously attribute it to either God or some evil entity. But that is pure projection on God of their own primitive convictions about what they would do if they were God. But, in reality, God does not kill babies or anybody else for that matter. Our God is essentially a God of life. When Jesus comes and shows us the true face of God, he kisses children. He doesn’t kill them. Would his Father be any different?
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