12th Sunday – Year B

Job 38:1, 8-11; II Cor 5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41

The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which one should have the present. “Who is the most obedient?” he asked. “Who never talks back to mother? And “Who does everything mother says?” Five small voices replied in unison. “Okay daddy! You get the toy.” Dad: Son, if you keep pulling my hair, you will have to get off my shoulders. Son: But, Dad, I’m just trying to get my gum back!

I wish all the Fathers here present a Happy Father’s Day. There will be a special blessing for the Fathers at the end of the Mass. Today’s Gospel tells us that we, all fathers, mothers and our families have to act promptly, trusting in the power of Jesus and seeking his help as the apostles did. The role of God in calming the storms of life is the central theme of the readings for this Storm Sunday.

The first reading tells us how the Lord speaks to Job whose life was devastated by storms of illness, the deaths of his dear ones and the total loss of his possessions. “Out of the storm,” God reminds Job that He is in control.

Jesus and his disciples had to face the violent and unexpected storms. The Sea of Galilee is a lake, more than six hundred feet below sea level.  It is thirteen miles long from north to south and eight miles broad from east to west at its widest. Despite the fact that many of the disciples are themselves fishermen, and thus, presumably, are familiar with the turbulent moods of the lake, it is they who grow terrified and panicky while Jesus, the landsman, serenely sleeps in the stern. Unable to control their fears the disciples wake Jesus up, accusing him of disregarding their safety. Jesus’ response is immediate.  First, he attends to the physical danger confronting them. His words, “Peace! Be still!” The words are a command, demonstrating Jesus’ power over destructive forces – forces within (1:21-28) and forces outside (4:35-41).

Just as the disciples had accused Jesus of abandoning them during the tumult, Jesus now turns to his followers and scolds them for abandoning their faith in him and in their mission. The point of the story is: nothing could harm the disciples while he was with them.

God is present with in our moments of crisis and difficulties but sometimes we fail to notice it. The Mississippi River was flooding its banks, and the waters were rising swiftly around Dorothy’s house.  The waters had gotten to the level of the front porch where Dorothy was standing when a man in a rowboat came by and called to Dorothy, “Hop in and I’ll take you to high ground.” Dorothy replied, “No, Jesus who calmed the storm in the sea will save me from flood waters!”  The river continued to rise to the second story windows and Dorothy, looking out, saw a powerboat come up.  The man in the powerboat called to Dorothy, “Hop in and I’ll take you to high ground.”  Dorothy replied, “No, my Jesus will save me!”   The river had now risen to the roof of the house.  Dorothy was sitting on the ridge at the top of the house with the waters swirling around her feet. She saw a helicopter fly over, and the people inside yelled over a bull horn, “Grab the rope and climb in, and we’ll take you to high ground.”  Dorothy replied, “No, Jesus will save me!”  The river continued to rise.  Finally the floodwaters engulfed the house and Dorothy was drowned. The next thing Dorothy knew, she was standing before Jesus.  In anger, she asked Jesus, “I put my trust in you.  Why have you forsaken me?”  And to her Jesus replied, “What do you want from me?  I sent you a rowboat, a powerboat, and a helicopter!”

All of us are making a journey across the sea of time to the shore of eternity.  Hence, it is natural that, occasionally, we all experience different types of violent storms in our lives: physical storms, emotional storms, and spiritual storms. We face storms of sorrow, doubt, anxiety, worry, temptation and passion. The storms we encounter in life are often what make us or break us.

Is Christ asleep? We might often be tempted to think so when we sit by, helplessly watching the sufferings of a loved one, or in the face of personal tragedy, or in times of depression or natural disaster. In such moments we instinctively turn to God and yet sometimes we don’t find Him or He seems far away, apparently busy with other matters. But in our Gospel passage today, Jesus does calm the storm. And that’s just it. Jesus does calm the storm — not all storms forever, but each storm individually at the right moment, just when calming is needed. In AA (Alcoholics Anonymous, and in all the dependency groups based on the AA Model), there is a slogan which says “Let Go – and Let God.” It is a marvelously liberating thing to let go, and to let God — to trust God to make things come out right instead of worrying about how we are going to make this happen ourselves, to decide to act in His will instead of worrying about how to do what we want to do, instead of trying to fix everything on our own.

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