A Homily for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Prince of Peace Catholic Church – 4:00 Mass
Job 38:1, 8-11; Psalm 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41

Audio Recording

 

We’re all drawn to the sea, aren’t we? Waterfront property is the most desirable and expensive property we can own. Here in Central Florida we can enjoy a beautiful sunset over Tampa Bay at a waterfront restaurant and enjoy a day at the beach with the kids and grandkids. We are blessed to live in an area that offers boating, fishing and beautiful beaches.

But along with the beauty of this tropical paradise, we also know that there is always risk of strong storms coming ashore from the sea, especially during hurricane season here in the Sunshine State. We’re constantly reminded about the need to be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane hitting the Tampa Bay Area.

We’re told to stock up on water, have plenty of batteries on hand, make sure our first aid kits are complete, and our pantries are well-stocked with non-perishable food items. The “good” thing about hurricanes is that we have time to prepare for them when they’re headed our way.

But the storms of life aren’t always like tropical storms, are they? Like the storm in today’s gospel reading, the storms of life often come up with no warning. We’re usually not well-prepared for them and they can be very scary. They can shake us to the core even if we’ve passed through other storms before.

Unlike a hurricane, life’s storms often come unexpectedly and raise waves large enough to capsize our boat. We don’t have time to evacuate or batten down the hatches when a loved one dies suddenly, when we receive a diagnosis of cancer, or when some other sort of tragedy strikes. In an instant we can find ourselves in the midst of a terrifying and unexpected storm that’s come crashing down upon us.

But here’s the thing about the storms of life; we are NEVER ALONE when they hit us. Like the storm in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is always in the boat with us.

You might be thinking, OK, I believe that, but He’s ASLEEP! The storm is raging and he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it! I’m terrified of the big waves that are crashing against me!

So what should we do? We wake him up. How do we do that? By PRAYER. We cry out to him for help like the disciples did, even as they wondered “Do you not care that we are perishing?”

As Christians we KNOW that He cares, that he does listen, but in the midst of the storm we may not feel that way. Yet, we MUST pray, we MUST believe, we MUST trust Him, even when it seems like he’s not listening, like he’s abandoned us to fend for ourselves. Prayer is ESSENTIAL in the midst of our storms. We must talk to God, perhaps even scream at God, at these times.

In these times of prayer we must also LISTEN to God. He knows what we need. We must LISTEN to his comforting words and come to understand the depth of His love for us. Only through prayer we can come to know that he is truly with us in the midst of the storm.

Sometimes he answers our prayers with a miracle, as He did in today’s Gospel when he got up and calmed the sea immediately. What a blessing when this happens! We are moved to tears of joy and want to tell the whole world what he has done for us.

But we don’t always get the miracle we’re praying for, do we? Often times Our Lord wants us to know that in spite of the pain and suffering we are experiencing here, we will soon be with him in heaven and all of the storms we’re enduring now will no longer even be remembered.

Perhaps more often than not, it may be his will to permit us to suffer from the effects of the storm so that we might be drawn closer to Him through these experiences, through our suffering. This is when we should recall that suffering is not a punishment, rather it’s intended to be redemptive. Christian suffering has a purpose, even though that purpose is not obvious in the moment.

We should also remember that He promised that He will never allow us to suffer more than we can bear. As with Job in today’s first reading, God sets limits on the storm so that we can bear it, even if it is very difficult.

Let’s also remember this. If Christ does not perform a miracle this side of death, he always performs it on the other side of death. We don’t all get miracles in this life, but we all get the miracle of the resurrection in the next life. And in this life we all get the miracle of the Eucharist, the real presence of Christ himself, to feed and sustain our souls as we journey through this valley of tears.

Strengthened by the Eucharist, the bread of life, and the blessed hope of our promised resurrection from the dead, we should not fear the storms of life that press upon us. We can go through them knowing that there is a hidden purpose for our suffering and that God is always with us. We must have FAITH that He knows and wants what is best for us, even when we don’t understand why we suffer as we do.

My dear friends in Christ, we can be absolutely certain that the storms of our lives will eventually be calmed by our loving Lord. They will pass, if not on this side of death, in the life to come.

Never give in to the temptation of despair and always trust in God’s love for you. He’s always in our boat with us. Knowing this is how we are able to weather the storms that come crashing upon us. Knowing this is how we are always able to experience joy, even in the midst of suffering.

Amen? God bless you.