June 19, 2015

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe first reading from the Bible for this weekend is from the Book of Job. Job, who has been popularly mislabeled over the centuries as heroically patient, in fact challenged God while undergoing many hardships in his life.

Job resented the hardships he faced in life. He questioned God’s mercy. The Book of Job chronicles this long exchange between Job and the Almighty. The final verdict is that God is powerful and good, even if his power and goodness are at times beyond our comprehension.

Trapped by his own concerns and fears, unable to see all possibilities, wanting instant solutions, Job simply lost sight of God’s perfection.

For the second reading, the Church offers a passage from St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians. As is so often the case in Paul’s writings, this selection is a great testament to the reality of Jesus, the Son of God and a man, to the unbreakable bond between Jesus and true Christians.

It is a bond confirmed and wonderfully extended to all generations in all places by the Lord’s willing sacrifice on Calvary. In and through this sacrifice, all is made right between God and humanity.

True disciples share in the gift achieved by this sacrifice: eternal life itself and life with God.

St. Mark’s Gospel supplies the last reading.

The story is set on the Sea of Galilee, as the modern Lake of Tiberias was known in ancient times. Several of the Apostles were fishermen. All the Apostles, however, would have been familiar with fishing as a livelihood because all came from the region of the lake.

Terrible storms in the mold of today’s hurricanes and tornadoes do not now occur in this northern part of present-day Israel. They did not happen in this region at the time of Jesus. Yet thunderstorms and winds did come upon the lake.

This story’s recollection of such a storm, therefore, is not far-fetched. Not difficult either to imagine is the fright created by being in a small boat, at some distance from the safety of the shore, when a storm arose. Sailing would not have been easy. An open boat could have taken on water.

Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the boat when the storm came. He was not afraid. He took no notice of the storm.

The Apostles were very frightened. They awakened Jesus, sure that they were about to drown, and they pleaded for the Lord’s help.

Jesus controlled the elements by ordering the water to be calm.

The contrast between the Apostles and Jesus is clear. Jesus had power over the elements. As Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus elsewhere, the Lord is the Son of God, but the Apostles are mere mortals. They cannot control the elements. They cannot foresee their own future. They cannot even find a quick way to assure their safety. They only know that they are vulnerable to death. Fear runs away with them. They imagine the worst.

Reflection

On this weekend in the United States, we celebrate Father’s Day, honoring our fathers. Good fathers are God’s gifts to families, so we honor them

God is the loving Father of all. We are not orphans. God gave us Jesus, our brother. Jesus ascended into heaven. He lives with us in the life of the Spirit, given in and through the Church. The Church is with us.

The Church invites us to respond to God’s love. Basic to this response is our admission of our own inadequacies. In so many respects, despite accomplishments or talents, we humans always are children. We need God, just as the Apostles needed Jesus on the tossing waters.

God, our Father, lovingly fills our need. †

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