Reading 1 JB 38:1, 8-11
The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
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!
Responsorial PsalmPS 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31
Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
They who sailed the sea in ships,
trading on the deep waters,
These saw the works of the LORD
and his wonders in the abyss.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
His command raised up a storm wind
which tossed its waves on high.
They mounted up to heaven; they sank to the depths;
their hearts melted away in their plight.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting..
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them,
He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze,
and the billows of the sea were stilled.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting..
They rejoiced that they were calmed,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his kindness
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
Reading 22 COR 5:14-17
Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
- Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has risen in our midst,
God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
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?”
Fr Kevin Walsh
From time to time, we often come out with a saying like this: ‘Nothing is going right for me today, in fact I feel all done in, and depressed’ And that is probably true…… if we are very distressed and worried, or maybe depressed, it can be just terrible for us, we sometimes say it is a bit like hell on earth! Well, in the first Reading from today’s Liturgy of the Word, let’s say that Job was having a very bad and distressing time, and he was also very, very depressed!’ So, Job was really ‘down in the dumps’ and looking for some good answers to some of his very deep and troubling questions, about life and death and what happens in between. He was deeply concerned about the Lord God’s care of him and others, and the logical reasoning for following God’s law in any case. Job was in a real mess! I am sure that most of us can identify with Job’s plight, in some matter or form.
You know, sometimes when we are in the depth of depression, or deep questionings about life and death, and the seeming triumph of evil over goodness in our world, something often comes out of ‘the blue’ and really ‘hits the nail on the head’ as we see some answers to our deep questions, right in front of us, and we could not see it before! Like Job, his questionings were good questions; but it seems that he was metaphorically in a deep pit of darkness, and could not see the light because of the clouds.
I heard an old Passionist Priest, Fr Bonaventure CP, while giving us our community Retreat, giving me some great advice; things were not going so well for me at that time, and in fact, I was seriously thinking of leaving the priesthood! He said, ‘Kev, sometimes when we feel that we are at the bottom of the barrel, we are really resting on the palm of God’s hand, and don’t know it!’ Now for me, after thinking about this, that was God speaking to me from within the Tempest; similar to Job’s experience of hearing God’s Voice in the Theophanic moments. Tempest in this context, could well mean a small cataclysmic experience, which showed an overwhelming power of God. It is good for us to remember that this kind of speaking about the power of God, is a Literary Form of the time, used to express poetically, that the Lord God had made a grand entrance. It was not meant to be a description of a literal event manifested by a mega fireworks display! 20th Century Fox can do all that for us.
Let’s get back to Job…..you might need to scroll up and have a look at the 1st Reading again………Did you notice that the Lord God gave Job his answer through asking him questions? Isn’t that amazing? Sometimes that happens to us too! The questions from the Lord God, invited Job to look at the world in a different way, and this enabled him to look at himself in a different way; the very answers were inside him. Just as the Lord God enabled Job to be aware of his presence, in and through the Tempest, Job was in his own Tempest, and the Lord God spoke to him from within that as well….the two Tempests are linked together……..Food for thought in our own lives!!
The Responsorial Psalm that follows, is a community response to the first Reading…..Ideally in a Parish setting, we should PAUSE after the First Reading to ask ourselves…’what is the Lord saying to me through His Word?’ Then we tune into the Community Response to the Psalm…….’Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.’ That response is like a Text Message, which sums up, and presents a community response to God’s Invitation through His Word. It would be good, if we could keep that response in our mind during the day, like we do for catchy tunes which we hear on the Radio….There is something else which can spring from going over the response during the day…….it can be the launching pad to blast off gently into prayer….with a few words said and paused it opens the way for the Prayer of perpetual motion, which I like to call it…….the prayer with no words….just a moving silence, like that of journeying through space…..just let the words go and stay in stillness…this kind of prayer is not the prayer that is good while driving to and from work in busy traffic 🙂
In reading the Gospel, we can fall into the trap of reading it quickly, because we have heard it before, so let’s get to the end of it, and see what it means???? Oh no, we should never do that…..we will miss so much, because God’s Word is always evergreen, and always speaks anew to us…..
The opening sentence, is not about a weather forecast, it paints the scene for us……a very scary scene at that! In Biblical language, evening time is that phase of the day for ‘stillness’ listening to God, through the complexity of the day that is almost over; being ever attentive to how God has spoken, and is speaking to us now? In Scriptural understanding, being out on the lake at night, can be dangerous, especially in Galilee, where squalls blow up quickly. So, notice that it is Jesus who suggests that they go over to the other side of the lake. This was not a journey to a nice spot for Dinner. It seems to mean that Jesus and His disciples need to be daring, and move away from the crowd of good listeners, to the crowd of unbelievers. This voyage is really an act of faith. Notice that there were some other boats going with Jesus, and his disciples?….. The other boats were not just going over to the other side for a boat trip…..Oh no, the boat symbolised the Church, the fledging community of ‘The Way’, following and accompanying Jesus. Around 60-70AD this scenario was very real…..the early Churches…that is the early communities, were taking big risks, and there was danger all around, yet within that danger, the small communities ventured out in MISSION to the other side.
Then as bad luck would have it, a storm blew up! But the storm was not just then; the storm always blows up when life as we know it, is on the edge! It is often in those times that we now, in 2015, sometimes say, “Where is the Lord now?” This is exactly what the Disciples did there and then…..’Wake Jesus up! ‘Does he really not care about us?’ This concern about Jesus sleeping, and seemingly not caring, is a theme that has been repeated throughout Biblical History. It was also a big part in Job’s distress! God does not spoon feed us, when we feel that He is not around; it is through the events which cause us to despair and be stressed, that our FAITH = INSIGHT is put to the test……and the end result is just like the text message in the Responsorial Psalm of today…..Give thanks to the Lord, His love is everlasting. ‘Why did we doubt?’
It is good for us to take note of Our Lord’s calmness within himself, as he rebukes the sea and the wind, in contrast to the disciples who are beside themselves with fear! When Jesus posed the question to them, as he does to us: ‘Why are you so frightened? Where is your faith?’ That very question enabled the disciples to find the answer within themselves with a little trigger from Jesus, as it does in us. Their fear was turned into Awe! A little bit like Thomas, who was asked by the Risen Lord to place his hand into the cavity wound of His side……. Doubting Thomas responded with awe! ‘My Lord and my God’! I bet that in times like that for us in daily life….the only answer which is totally appropriate, is the acclamation similar to Thomas.
Until next week, let us keep each other within our prayerful minds, while we are held in conversation and listening with the Lord.
A REALHOMILE FROM………
Fr Brian Gleeson CP. Passionist Community St. Paul the Apostle Church, Endeavour Hills, Vic firstname.lastname@example.org
We are fascinated with water. It’s impossible to listen to the ‘Moonlight Sonata’ of Beethoven without thinking of moonlight flickering and shimmering across the surface of a placid lake. We never tire of looking at lakes, waterfalls, rivers and oceans. Water is just so attractive, appealing and soothing. On the other hand, water out of control is simply terrifying. Think of the terrible tsunamis and avalanches recently that have destroyed lives, buildings, landscapes and livelihoods. Mark’s story today about the high winds and giant waves battering the boat in which Jesus is fast asleep reminds us of the terrifying and destructive power of water.
For a little while the apostles with Jesus in the boat let him sleep on. But once water starts to fill the boat and threatens to drown them, they wake him in panic and keep shouting: ‘Master, don’t you care that we are sinking.’ Their blunt words work. Jesus wakes up, stands and rebukes the wind as if it was a person and says to the sea: ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ There and then the wind drops and all is calm and peaceful again. Once more God the Creator is in control of his creation.
But Jesus doesn’t leave it at that. He has something sharp to say to those panic merchants who doubted that he would help them: ‘Why were you so afraid?’ he asks, ‘and why have you no faith at all [when things go wrong]?’ There and then their fear turns to awe and reverence as they say to one another: ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
What does this story mean for you and me? How is it good news? What can we take from it? It’s obviously a story of a wonderful nature miracle, in which the divine Jesus calms a dangerous storm. But if we hear it more as a symbol of the presence and power of Jesus in the storms of our lives, it will be even more valuable and relevant.
The risen and divine Jesus gives us peace in the storm of sadness and sorrow. When that storm comes as come it must, he reminds us of the glory of the life to come. He tells us that there are many rooms in our Father’s house (Jn 14:2), and that he has gone ahead to prepare a place for us (Jn 14:2-3). He changes the darkness of death into the sunshine of everlasting life, and replaces our distress with comfort and peace.
The risen and divine Jesus gives us peace in the middle of our personal and family problems, when we don’t know either the best way forward or the best way out. At such a crossroads of life, we can ask him, ‘Lord, what road should I take?’ The best way may then become so much clearer, and bring us calmness and peace of mind as well.
The risen and divine Jesus gives us peace in the storm of anxiety. The chief enemy of peace is worry – worry about ourselves, worry about those we love, worry about our world, worry about our church community, and worry about the future. What is particularly worrying to us at present? Perhaps it’s the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of Africa. Perhaps it’s the terrorists of ISIS. Perhaps it’s the attacks and counter-attacks between Palestinians and Israelis, the menace of global warming, the cruel treatment of asylumseekers, and the prevalence of AIDS, abortion, drug addiction, sexual and physical abuse.
When the frightened companions of Jesus look to him to save them from the storms raging both outside and inside them, they start to calm down. So too with us! If we look to Jesus to stay with us even when we are being battered by the wildest storms of life, deep down inside we will experience his gift of peace. In all our storms of worry and anxiety, whatever they might be, Jesus keeps saying to us: ‘Trust in God still and trust in me’ (Jn 14:1). How can he say that and say it so confidently? Simply because he knows just how much God loves us and how unconditional and everlasting is God’s love for us. God cares even when a little sparrow falls to the ground (Mt 6:26). Jesus knows on the one hand that even when bad things happen to good people, God has not inflicted those things. Jesus also knows on the other hand that in all our troubles God will respond to us when we seek his help and guidance. So in every storm of anxiety, Jesus offers us God’s gift of peace.
In short, then, the good news from God today is that no power or force, however frightening, can match the power and presence of God in the person of Jesus. God’s good news today is also loud and clear that to journey with Jesus is to journey through storms, not around them. No matter what happens he will be ‘God in the boat’ for us and will stay on board with us. So let us give heartfelt thanks to God in the rest of our Eucharist together today, for all the signs of the care of Jesus, and especially for the gift of his peace in the middle of every storm that comes our way. email@example.com