Fr Vincent's reflections on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021
Some of the stories from the life of Jesus are considered “real-life” parables. Today’s Gospel -- the “Calming of the Storm at Sea” -- is one such parable. All is going well for the disciples because Jesus is with them in their boat. But a storm comes up, and Jesus is asleep when they need him. They wake him up; He calms the storm. Then Jesus asks them, why were they afraid. When the storms of life come upon us, we can give in to fear rather than trust in the presence of Jesus.
Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021
Read the script:
12th Sunday – Ordinary Time (June 20, 2021)
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, let us pray:
Grant, O Lord,
that we may always revere and love your holy name,
for you never deprive of your guidance
those you set firm on the foundation of your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Gospel today is Mark 4:35 - 41.
✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you ever day-dreamed about Jesus being with you to calm the storms of life just like in the Gospel today when he calms the storm at sea? I know I do, maybe more than I care to admit! So many times, the chaos of life becomes overwhelming, and I know Jesus is the only answer. So, I quickly say: “Lord, how can you let these things happen to me? Fix my life, please, and I’ll be happy!” Then I tell myself: “if it was only so easy!” But for me, the storms rage on. How about you?
The storms rage on . . . until . . . they don’t. They can disappear so gradually that we don’t even realize they have passed. Seemingly, all of a sudden, we are at peace; “how did I get here?” It’s like: I feel the headache; it bothers me; so I try to live with it. Then, eventually I realize it’s over, but I can’t pinpoint when it ended. Sure, as soon as I realize I have peace, I say thanks to God. But the point is that I can be so caught up by the storms of life and trying to deal with them, that I let myself believe Jesus is asleep in my boat. I lose awareness of God’s active presence and think that I am dealing with life all by myself.
This is the real-life parable Jesus gives us today for our reflection and contemplation. Each of us can set out on a life-journey, feeling confident that we will be successful and will stay happy and at peace. Many of us know that Jesus is with us, but we become comfortable paying more attention to life than to the presence of Jesus. It is like we allow him to go to sleep because we don’t need him at this moment. Unintentionally, our awareness of Jesus disappears.
But then, events or circumstances start to take control away from us, and we enter a time of storms which work against our plans, and they can lead us into darkness, doubt, and fear. We end up feeling drained and empty and unable to handle it any more. This is when we realize we can no longer make it without Jesus, so we start calling on him to help us. That help might not always be instantaneous, so we might think Jesus is truly asleep or disinterested. So we fight the storm ourselves.
All we can think about it fighting the storm and feeling all alone in those efforts. Just as we slipped into a lack of awareness of Jesus in times of peace, we can fail to see him standing next to us as we battle the problems of life. Feeling overwhelmed, we keep pushing against those contrary forces, maybe even fearing we will fail. So, we blindly rage against the storms of life, not even realizing their power, somehow, has dissipated.
Finally, we realize that peace has returned. Then we see Jesus is the one who truly fought the storm on our behalf. Of course, we express gratitude. But, he asks us, as he asked his disciples: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” I know that Jesus is there. But, sure enough, I pigeon-hole my faith while dealing with life and don’t always focus on Jesus until I experience an overwhelming need for him. Then I swing to the other extreme and begin to think He’s the one who is not paying attention. So, Jesus patiently reminds me – He has always been with me and available, and it’s my lack of attention which causes me to lose sight of his abiding presence.
The real-life parable wants to teach us that faith is not merely believing that Jesus will take care of me when I call out in times of need, but that real faith is having a total-life relationship with Jesus so I see him with me when all is peaceful as well. The challenge is to remain fully conscious of Jesus throughout each day and to have an active spiritual life so I won’t succumb to the pressures of life and think that I am ever left alone by Jesus. It is one thing to say I know Jesus is with me, but another to live with confidence that this truth is the foundation of my life.
And now, the final blessing.
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
May the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.