12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Job 38:1, 8-11
Psalm 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31 (1b)
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Mark 4:35-41
June 20, 2021

Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?

This is the question the disciples ask Jesus.  They are in a boat when “A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat so that it was already filling up.”

They were in danger of sinking.  Their lives were at risk.  Meanwhile, Jesus is there sleeping in the boat.  Does He care?

Have you ever wondered if God cared about you?  Have you ever felt like God does not listen to your prayers?

God does care about you just as Jesus cared about the disciples in the boat.  He was not concerned about the storm.  He knew everything would be alright.  He knew what He would do so there was no reason to be terrified.

He could have stopped the storm from ever happening.  He didn’t.  Why?  To help his disciples grow in faith and knowledge of who He truly is and what He could do as the Son of God.

Jesus may have been asleep in the boat but He is always aware of the storms we face in our lives.

When his disciples asked him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?,” He did care.  He “rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”  At Jesus’ words the wind and the sea obeyed and were calm.  In the beginning God created by his word (for example, “let there be light”).  Jesus calms the storm by his word.

Why were the disciples terrified?  Because this was still fairly early in Jesus’ ministry.  They were beginning to understand who He truly is but weren’t there yet.  Thinking in human terms, they were terrified by the storm.  In faith, they became “filled with great awe.

In essence, they came to know God more fully through the storm. 

This is not the first time God came to his people in a storm.  Our first reading from Job begins, “The Lord addressed Job out of the storm.”  The storm that Job faced was not a weather storm. 

Job had been a rich man with a great family.  The devil took that all away.  So begins a great storm for Job.  He suffered greatly in his loss but the storm was more than that.  In those days such suffering was seen as punishment for sin.  Job’s friends told him that he needed to repent of whatever sin he had committed so that God would forgive him.

However, Job knew he had not sinned.  His first response was “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21b).  Job trusted in the Lord.

As time went on, Job struggled to understand.  In the end Job renews his trust in God.”

Why does God allow suffering?  Here I think of Jesus’ words to his disciples in the story of the man born blind, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him” (John 9:3).

We can trust God. 

The story of Jesus calming a storm in today’s gospel is not the first time God calmed a storm.  We see it in today’s psalm.  The people faced a storm.  “They cried to the LORD in their distress; from their straits he rescued them.  He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze, and the billows of the sea were stilled.

God never abandons us.  God is always with us.  God may not take the storms we face away.  Instead He comes to us in our storms.  He knows we cannot bear the storms on our own. 

Jesus came to die for all, “so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

The love of Christ” that Jesus reveals to us should impel us to follow him.  In accepting our storms, we can witness to the love and trust we have in God.

What storm do you face that terrifies you?

Are you, or someone you know, facing a major health issue?  God is with you.  Do you recognize his presence?  Thinking globally some people wonder how the pharmaceutical companies developed vaccines for COVID so quickly.  I think it was God who guided them.  God is with us.

Maybe you, or someone you know, needs to find a new job.  Do you ask God to get you the job you want or do you ask God what job He wants you to do?

In nine days I move to my new assignment.  Now, I am not terrified by this (it helps that the parish I am going to is my home parish) but I do have concerns.  What has changed since I was last a member of the parish?  How I have changed?  I have my concerns but I know God has a plan.

With me leaving you also face change.  I know some of you are sad that I am going.  Others may not care.  Either way you might all be wondering what the new priest will be like.  I don’t know him so I can’t tell you what he is like.

What I do know is God has a plan for St. Luke’s just as He has a plan for each one of us individually.  Trust in God.  Let him reveal his plan and pray that we all follow his plan as we pray “thy will be done.”

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