June 19, 2009

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

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThis weekend, the Sunday liturgies return to Ordinary Time after the long period of Lent, the Easter season and a series of important feasts.

The first reading from the Bible for this weekend is from the Book of Job.

Job, who has been popularly mislabeled over the centuries as patient, in fact underwent many hardships in his life.

He argued with God, and he challenged God. Job resented the hardships that he faced in life. He questioned God’s mercy.

The Book of Job chronicles this long exchange between Job and the Lord. In the end, the fact is that God indeed is powerful and good.

By the same token, Job simply cannot perceive God’s perfection because Job is trapped by his own concerns and troubles.

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 the Pauline writings, this selection is a great testament to the reality of Jesus, the Son of God and a man, and to the unbreakable bond between Jesus and true Christians.

It is a bond confirmed and wonderfully extended by the Lord’s willing sacrifice on Calvary. In and through this sacrifice, all is made right between God and humanity. Moreover, 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 would have been familiar with fishing as a livelihood since all the men came from the region of the lake.

Terrible storms in the mold of today’s hurricanes and tornadoes do not occur in the northern part of present-day Israel and also 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 is not farfetched. Also not difficult to imagine is the fright created by being in a small boat at some distance from the safety of the shore when a storm suddenly arose on the lake. Sailing would not have been easy. An open boat could have taken on water and capsized.

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

However, the Apostles were terrified. They awakened Jesus because they were afraid that they were about to drown, then 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 St. Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus elsewhere, the Lord is the Son of God. However, the Apostles are mere mortals. They cannot control the elements. They cannot even foresee their own future so they become fearful. They know that they are vulnerable to death.

In Jesus, however, is life.


On this weekend in the United States, we celebrate Father’s Day and honor our fathers. As we justifiably honor them, we also remember that God is the loving Father of all.

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

The Church is with us. The Church refined its message by instructing us on the feasts of Pentecost, Corpus Christi and Trinity Sunday.

Now the Church begins to prepare us for its invitation to respond to all that we have heard. Basic to this preparation is its call to us to admit our inadequacies. We cannot forget that we need God, our Father, who lovingly fills our need. †

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