Gospel: Mt 8:23-27
Jesus got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a fierce storm burst upon the lake, with waves sweeping the boat. But Jesus was asleep.
The disciples woke him up and cried, “Lord save us! We are lost!” But Jesus answered, “Why are you so afraid, you of little faith?” Then he stood up and rebuked the wind and sea; and it became completely calm.
The disciples were astonished. They said, “What kind of man is he? Even the winds and the sea obey him.”
In today’s gospel reading we are told that “without warning, a fierce storm burst upon the lake.” How is it possible that a storm can come “without warning”? And how could experienced fishermen like the disciples not see the storm coming?
The answer to these questions lies in the topography of Palestine. The Sea of Galilee, where this storm occurs, lies at 600 feet below sea level, but on each side of it are high elevations of about 1,500 feet in the West and of 3,000 feet in the East. When cold winds blow from the East on the Syrian plateau and hit the deep chasm of the Sea of Galilee (3,000 feet below), they immediately drop (cold air goes down) and force the hot air on the surface of the Sea of Galilee to go up, thus creating a strong atmospheric convection. This agitates the surface of the sea, creating huge waves (up to 20 feet). Nothing announces such phenomena. They can happen when the sky is cloudless.
What is surprising is that the disciples feared for their lives with Jesus on board. Since he claimed to be God’s Son, how could they think for a moment that God would let his Son drown and they with him?
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