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Sunday Homily

12th SUN in ORD Time -Year B

-23-06-2024-

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time -Year B

Gospel Text:  Mark     4:35-41

V. 35 With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples,
'Let us cross over to the other side.'
V. 36 And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him.
V.37 Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped.Christ and the StormGiorgio de Chirico, 1914
V.38 But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep.
V.39 They woke him and said to him,
'Master, do you not care? We are going down!'
And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea,
'Quiet now! Be calm!'
And the wind dropped, and all was calm again.
V.40 Then he said to them,
'Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?'
They were filled with awe and said to one another, 'Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.'
(The painting above right: Christ calms the Storm is by Giorgio de Chirico, 1914.)

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We have three commentators available from whom you may wish to choose . Scroll down to the name of the desired commentator.

Michel DeVerteuil :     A  Holy Ghost Father, and  late director of the Centre of Biblical renewal . Trinidad W.I.
Sean Goan:                    Studied scripture in Rome, Jerusalem and Chicago 
Donal Neary SJ:        
Editor of The Sacred Heart Messenger and National Director of The Apostlship of Prayer.

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  1. Commentary by Fr Michel de Verteuil 

Unlike the passages of the last two weeks, this Sunday’s passage is, in one sense, a single story and we must read it as a whole. But in another sense, it tells two stories – one of Jesus and one of the apostles. Each has its movement that we can enter into, and there is a striking contrast between the attitudes shown in each.

As you meditate, observe how you are situating yourself in relation to the passage:
which of the two stories are you identifying with, the one of Jesus or the one of the apostles?
*Is it your personal story or the story of someone who has touched your life?
*Does Jesus remind you of some person or of God himself?
*Is this something that is happening now or something that has happened in the past?

Answering these questions will help you enter into the story.

Scriptural Reflection and Prayer

Lord, Today humanity finds itself in a bad way: recurrent famines and violence in parts of Africa especially in Sudan, Ethiopia and Nigeria together with surplus food in Europe;

  • leftover symptoms of the covid virus highlighting vaccine poverty and new issues and strains of the virus and their leftovers;
  • an unending spiral of violence in the Middle East; oil rich nations and great poverty and deprivation;
  • Russian aggression  and war in the Ukraine,
  • Violence in Gaza and Israel
  • the rich few and the many unemployed
  • the constant threat of nuclear disaster and terrorism.

Indeed he waves are breaking into our boat so that it is almost swamped
and we have the impression that we are going down.
All this time the values of Jesus are there within our reach
- compassion, trust, love of enemies, honesty -
but we have left them  in the back of the boat, unused.

We pray that we may turn to these values in this moment of need,
that like the apostles we may discover with awe that these values can command the winds and the seas.

Lord, we thank you for the great people of faith we have known,
An aunt/ uncle or granny in our community, the kind of person who could sleep
comfortably because they trust in you.
How often we have been condescending towards them,
Taking charge of them as the apostles took charge of Jesus,
And they went along with us.
Then it began to blow a gale, and we felt we were going down,
We turned to them and experienced their power.

Lord, modern people have confidence in brute force;
We look on trust as weak and ineffectual.
We thank you that you sent us someone like the Indian national leader Gandhi.
He showed the world that trust is a mighty power,
One that could rebuke the wind and the sea, and say to them,
Quiet now! Be calm!” and the whole world was in awe, saying,
Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him.

Lord, we who are leaders in the church, we talk easily about faith.
But every once in a while you say to us,
Let us cross over to the other side” and make us leave the crowd behind us
inviting us to make a retreat; letting us experience failure or infidelity.

Then, on the open sea, without our usual supports,
We experience how frail we are, how easily we could go down.
That is a moment of grace for us as we realize
That we have been living on the surface of ourselves,
Trusting in success and popularity,
And deep within ourselves, Jesus was asleep.
Now with him awake we have the resources to calm the winds and the sea.

Lord, our rulers often act as if the destiny of the country is in their hands.
Teach them that Jesus is in the little people forgotten in the back of the boat
And if we turn to them we will discover to our surprise
That they have the resources to calm the storm
And we will get safely to the other side.

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2. Commentary by Sean Goan

Gospel

The dramatic story of the storm at sea brings into focus in very vivid manner the challenge of being in a relationship of faith with Jesus. He has just finished teaching them about the kingdom and its presence when he suggests they cross to the other side. This is a dangerous suggestion for he is asking them as it grows dark, to to journey into the unknown, the pagan or Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee. Soon they find themselves in the midst of a storm with the waves swamping their small boat and the master asleep, apparently unconcerned. Their question to him says it all:
'Do you not care?'

This plea gathers up the prayers of many who feel they are drowning in what can be a harsh and cruel world. Jesus hears their cry and like God in the first reading from Job manifests his power by bringing calm into choas. However, he also challenges them with a question that equals theirs for is relevance: 'Have you still no faith?' They have already seen him heal the sick, teach with authority and perform exorcisms, but something is missing as regards their attachment to him;
a deep trust that Jesus really does care for them.

Reflection

The storm at sea offers the perfect metaphor for expressing our doubts about faith. The power of nature can leave us feeling utterly insignificant; we are powerless and totally at the mercy of the elements. So too life can appear incredibly challenging because of illness, bereavement, broken relationships, and shattered dreams. At times the sailing in a small boat, on a dark night, into the eye of a storm, perfectly describes how we are. At such times Jesus invites us to trust and it is only in doing that that we learn how.

3. Commentary by Fr Donal Neary, SJ

Sleeping Jesus

In what for the apostles was a very bad storm, Jesus slept.  It’s like he seems asleep in the deep darknesses of life
- people’s darkness of self-esteem,
- long-term illness,
- an addiction,
- migration,
Things that causes big storms our lives.
But in the friendship and love of God we find we can survive and even grow through them, especially the troubles we have little control over.  Even when Jesus was asleep the apostles felt his protective presence.

They found calm only when they were in the middle of the storm.  We will find Jesus in the middle also of our storms, when we try not to hide our troubles from him. This was how Job got a bit better in the first reading - his friends were trying to help him avoid his troubles, like take a few drinks, enter a transitory relationship - all the things we do to avoid our troubles. In the middle of the tempest, God spoke to them.

We sit with him in prayer and let him know how we are, and just allow his calm come over us. We find courage and hope at the Mass and other sacraments, like the great peace of a young man when he received the anointing of the sick,  who had left church practice for years, Or the help we can get from the community of people in parish and in the church at bad times. It gives us the courage and strength to deal with what are storms in our lives.

Remember a bad time when God seemed to help you.
Be grateful.

 Prayer: Protect us from all anxiety as we wait.

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