Sunday Gospel Reflection: Rocking Eve to Sleep

I wonder what it was like for Jesus as His bleary eyes woke from sleep. He could feel the water lapping at his feet, hear the roar of the wind skidding over the sea. But the first thing He saw must have been the disciples’ faces, their wide eyes dimming with despair and confusion. Before he heard the waves bludgeon the deck of the boat, he heard their desperate cry cracked by the blade of mistrust: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

How His heart must have broken at the fearful wail of His children. How His heart continues to break today as we too cower and scream, “Do you not care?”

As He woke from sleep, the Word’s human eyes witnessed the fear and lack of trust that has haunted humanity since Eve’s eyes first looked into the visage of the serpent. The venom from that glance has oozed into every human heart, turning us from bold children of the Lord into terrified creatures who shrink at the sight of waves. Many of us have been infused with faith since our baptism as infants. And yet have we practiced this virtue to the point that we can look at Christ’s closed eyes and boldly trust in Him?

Today’s Gospel might not describe a physical healing. But the Teacher asleep on on a cushion yearns to heal our angry and frightened souls. He desires to calm our hearts that churn far more violently than any squall. How does He desire to heal us? By closing our eyes.

It was Eve’s eyes on the Deceiver that ultimately drew her and the whole world to destruction. It was the disciples shaking Jesus’ eyes open that displayed their lack of faith. Today, our merciful Master invites us to reverse this habit and choose to instead rest against His heart. We too are invited to sleep in the peace of the Father, a peace that may not understand why the storm wails but which nevertheless believes in unutterable love and providence.

Friend, I don’t know the storm that threatens to capsize your boat. I don’t know why Jesus remains asleep when He could vanquish the squall with one command. But I do know that He cares. He cares so much that His eyes closed on the Cross as He embraced the sleep of death. But He did not perish forever. His eyes opened in glory. They opened for you and gaze upon you right now.

On this Sabbath, rest with Jesus. He will wake you when the time is right. He will not let you perish.

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