12th Sunday of Ordinary Time – 20 June 2021 – Bible Readings for Mass: I: Job 38: 8-11; Responsorial: Psalm 107; II: II Corinthians 5: 14-17; Gospel: Mark 4:35- 41
This 12 Sunday of Ordinary Time, prayerfully, we seek our Lord. It is also the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Tomorrow the days will, ever so slowly, start to decrease in the amount of daylight. We are reminded of the cycles of life of which we are all participants. We encounter days of calm and blessing, secure, at times, in routines of work, relationships and life as a whole. As Catholics we cherish the blessed peace and strength we find in our liturgical cycles centered in Christ and His Body. The sacramental dimensions of our faith provide great joy, solace and grace as, together, we share our pilgrimage of faith. We seek to follow the steps of faith-filled discipleship with the first followers of Christ and all those who have preceded us in the way of the Cross with our risen Savior. But as our readings from the Word of God this day indicate we will not always know days of tranquil joy or quiet faith. The simple reality is storms, of many kinds, are a part of life.
As we encounter our storms we are faced with choices. Will we choose to allow these storms cause our faith and love for God, His Church, and others to be wounded or destroyed? Will we realize our divisions and strife add further wounds to Jesus?
Or will we remember we share this voyage, this journey of life and faith with others and that, WITH CHRIST, we will prevail to know His peace, healing and love?
The light of God’s Word is greatly needed in our communities, families and church at this time. Many are the storms that threaten, storms of the environment and our shared earthly home. And storms of soul and spirit beat against families, communities, the nation and the church. Easy would be the temptation to say enough! and seek to escape the conflicts. Easy to the temptation to play the blame game and seek to dump our fears and anger upon whatever targets may be close at hand.
In our Gospel we read the great story of Jesus bringing His disciples to sail, at night across the Sea of Galilee. This was no challenge as there were seasoned fishermen among them who well knew the ways and risks of sailing. With Jesus asleep in their boat they sailed. Peacefully. Until the violent squall broke upon them. I can only imagine the stress and blame that could have been playing out as they confronted the wind and the waves. IF ONLY, someone would have listened! If only we had waited until daylight! If only someone had explained to Jesus how this was a bad idea! As the storm wore on they realized they were losing the fight. In fear they awoke Emmanuel, God with us, and begged His intervention.
Christ awoke, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” He then challenged His followers: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith”? As it was in that boat on the Sea of Galilee so it is with us today.
As we seek to obey and follow Christ we can, with deepest faith, trust Him to lead us to where we need to be. He will bring us to great blessings and… to great storms. The disciples that night were trusting, they obeyed the Lord. But the storm came. Yet Jesus was not troubled or surprised. He slept. Peacefully. Until He was awakened by His panicking disciples. Our storms we encounter, illness, great need, wildfires, drought, strife in our relationships, discord in our parish, or in the larger Church none of these storms surprise Christ. There is no step we take of which Christ is unaware. Yes we may stumble, even fall. We may even stray. Yet the Shepherd of our souls knows where we are and knows what it will take to bring us into His healing, safe, holy love. Even for souls who may not be in accord with as sound of understanding of matters of faith and morals are loved and sought by Christ. None of us, this side of eternity, will fully realize or agree with the full Truth who is Christ. That is why it is imperative that, TOGETHER we seek to draw ever closer to His Sacred Presence. It is why it is imperative that we seek not to exclude those with whom we may differ. It is as we allow the Holy Spirit to draw us to the Living Word, Jesus, that we will then encounter ever more fully, the Real and Sacred presence of His Body, In the Host, In the Chalice and, in each other.
It is in our human nature that we tend, so easily, to focus upon the storms, the strife , the noise and the fear. Yet it is the Spirit of God who brings us to, and through, these storms to know Jesus as we never have before. It is the love of the Father that calls us to cast into our storms our fears, worries and, yes our hates. It is His same love that then pours into our hearts His healing, holy calming love.
Our Bible readings, our lives remind us that storms are a part of our life, this side of eternity. And it is in those storms we realize the Presence, the Promise and the Power of God’s prevailing love. May we remember, may we realize that His Presence and Promise, His Blessings are given us to be shared with all He would bring into our lives.