Saturday, June 20, 2009

Calming the Stormy Sea

June 21, 2009

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

And who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, And said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled! Job 38:8-11

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. Mark 4:37-39


One of the easiest scenes of the Gospel to contemplate is Christ asleep on a stormy sea. What a storm it must have been that men who made their living on the sea would be terrified! Waves breaking over the boat are scary and the fear of the Apostles makes sense. Our piety can be a statement of a moment of fear because it is so much easier to turn to the Lord when our lives are out of control. While moments of great fear can easily turn us to the Lord, our true piety is seen in our awareness of the Lord that does not depend on good times, but rather is like the sun that shines and on the good and the bad alike. The Lord addressing Job out of the storm claimed his control on the storms of his life and speaks to us alike. The Lord sets limits on the problems of our lives and fastens the bar of its door. The reality is that the Lord will never allow us to be tempted beyond the limits of his graces for us. At the limits of our fears the lord says to the waves of our fears that they can come no farther. His graces are where our fears can be stilled.


When we realize that the love of Christ impels us, our piety brings us to the conviction that Christ has died for all. Our piety brings us to union with Christ. Our study allows us to discover that we all have died with Christ in our willingness to live for Christ who was raised from the dead. In Christ, we are all a new creation. Old things have passed away and new things have come. Our study unfolds the fabric of our salvation. Study teaches us how to depend on Christ. It makes it possible for our awareness to grow of all the ways Christ would be in our lives. He calls us to be his presence in the ways we would temper each other’s fears. He reaches out to us in the storm tossed boat of our lives. He might seem to be asleep, but he is with us and his presence gradually becomes our security.


Our hearts tells us when to wake up. We live in the richness of his love which allows us to calm the stormy seas of the fears and trepidation of our companions of the journey. Too often we might seem to be asleep to the needs of those around us. Whatever we do for the least ones of our lives, Christ accepts as done for him. The poor we always have with us and we have to be awakened to the needs of our communities. We are part of the mystical body of Christ in our belonging and our reaching out and touching the hurts of those around us. What we do, is the actions of our spiritual journey. Sometimes we can see what needs to be done. All too often we need to be awakened to the ministry that Christ calls us to and asks of us. Our actions and our faith meet in the apostolic plans of our lives. The beauty of sharing our plans with others is the reality of Christ voice. By our all too feeble words of encouragement for those who work with us, Christ calms the stormy seas of our today.