Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 21, 2015 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.
Sunday Reading Meditations
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges the Apostles: “Let us cross to the other side” (Mk 4:35). They accepted his invitation to put out into the deep, moving forward toward the unknown. Today’s responsorial psalm says: “They who sailed the sea in ships, trading on the deep waters, these saw the works of the LORD and his wonders” (Ps 107:23). Those who risk following Jesus’ invitation see great things. Life becomes an adventure when we accept God’s challenges. In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14). If we let our life be impelled by Christ’s love, we can never imagine where our journey will end up taking us.
The Apostles were sailing and a great storm arose. It was night. High waves were breaking into the boat and it began to fill with water. The Apostles were at risk of drowning. The enthusiasm that Jesus’ invitation brought them was quickly transformed into panic. The wind and the waves became greater than the challenge of their teacher. The Apostles were trying to save themselves and Jesus was sleeping. The Apostles had to wake him up: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:38).
We can easily understand the disciples and their reaction. Sometimes the same thing happens to us. When we least expect it, storms suddenly arise in our lives. We feel as if we were perishing. We feel as if God did not care about us. For example, when an illness is diagnosed, when a job is lost, when a financial problem occurs, when a family crisis arises, when we lose someone that we love, we can feel like the Apostles: we are perishing and Jesus is sleeping in the boat.
The Apostles were terrified and Jesus was at peace. Jesus’ ability to sleep in the back of the boat in the midst of the raging storm shows his complete confidence in God. The disciples were terrified by the size of the waves, the strength of the wind and the darkness of the deep waters. They were afraid of dying. For them, the storm that they were facing seemed greater than God. Today’s first reading says: “The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said: ‘Who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb’” (Jb 38:1, 8). God is above the tempest. He is greater than our problems. We tend to consider our problems as absolutes. However, they are not. The only absolute is God! Everything else is transient, even death.
Jesus performs a miracle and there was a great calm, showing the disciples that there is a deeper level of peacefulness to be yet discovered. Cardinal Newman wrote: “The foundations of the ocean, the vast realms of water which girdle the earth, are as tranquil and as silent in the storm as in a calm. So it is with the souls of holy men. They have a well of peace springing up within them unfathomable; and though the accidents of the hour may make them seem agitated, yet in their hearts they are not so” (J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Sermon 5).
We need to discover this “well of peace” that allows us to face the tempests of life with serenity. Saint Paul, who during his turbulent life retained unshakeable confidence in God, teaches us that the way to find peace in this life is a matter of participating in Jesus’ Cross: “He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor 5:15). If we live our lives for ourselves, we shall never find peace and the storms will dominate us. The Apostles were trying to save themselves because they were terrified. They had not yet understood the newness brought by Christ. They were still attached to what Saint Paul calls “the old man,” still centered on themselves. In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (1 Cor 5:17). If we recognize that Christ is in our boat, really new things could happen! For us, too, it would be possible to find the quiet that follows the storm.
Let us pray that in the agitation of our lives, we shall discover the peace that is greater than any tempest.
In the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sunday Reading Meditations