12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

     JB 38:1,8-11 / PS 107: 23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31 / 2 Cor 5: 14-17 / MK 4:35-41

     A Happy Father’s day to all of our dads. Like most people, when I was younger, I believed my dad was superman. I thought he was the world’s strongest man, he was smarter than anyone else and he was the best athlete in the world. Like many children, anytime I felt threatened or scared I ran to my dad for protection.  Yet, as I grow up I now realize how truly special my dad is, but I have been forced to face the reality that he is human just like the rest of us. While my biological Father may not actually be the world’s strongest man, or the smartest, nor the best athlete in the world, our heavenly Father, who is divine, is truly all knowing, all powerful and all loving. Just as biological Fathers, in their love for their children, seek to provide them with all they need so too does our Heavenly Father desire to provide for our every need.

     In many ways today’s Gospel is a perfect parable for our life journeys. All of us, at times, find ourselves in the midst of the violent storms of life, we find ourselves in the middle of the sea on a boat that is in real danger of sinking and we become so desperate we are willing to try anything to stay afloat. Yet so often it seems that the harder we try to navigate the stormy seas of life, the worse the storms get. I think our lives, at times, continue to spiral out of control because we look inward on ourselves and think we have to control the situation, when in reality, often times the storms of life require the assistance of others. When we were little how many of us never hesitated to run to our dad for protection? Even if it was in the middle of the night and we had to wake him up, wasn’t he often our first choice for protection? Why not become like that little child in our faith lives and run to our heavenly Father in times of need? Why not be like the apostles in today’s gospel and turn to God, who alone has the power to calm the stormy seas?

     While we can easily be tempted to believe we can take control over every aspect of our lives, nothing could be further from the truth. Note that in today’s Gospel, St. Mark gives us the detail that Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat. He was asleep in the back of the boat where the steering is controlled. The disciples had been trying to take control, but in reality it is Jesus who sits at the controls and only when we turn our lives over to Him in complete trust and abandonment and only when we let Him take the controls can we be sure that we will pass through the storms of life unharmed.

     The early Christians saw in the image of the boat a symbol for the Church. The lesson they saw was clear. While the boat, in today’s gospel, was being tossed around, the disciples really had no other choice but to stay in the boat because if they would have jumped out of the boat they would have surely drowned. While storms will come in our lives we must remain right here in the protection of the Church. For when we remain in the Catholic Church, in this parish community with Jesus as the head we have the assistance of a 2,000 year tradition of teaching, we have the assistance of Jesus, the saints and our community to sustain us. Friends “the Church is ‘strength in weakness’ a combination of human failure and divine mercy”[1] and we know that by remaining in the protection of the Church “God makes use of evil in such a superb way and with such skill that the result is better than if there had never been evil.”[2]

     While “it is true: God disturbs our comfortable day – to – day existence,”[3] just as any good Father He is always there to be our protector and our guide, if only we are willing to turn to Him. As we gather this weekend to celebrate our Father’s let’s not forget to honor the Father of us all, God the Father. Let’s once again find the innocence of being the spiritual child of our creator. Why not be united with Him at all times in our thoughts and in our hearts so that when the storms do come we are ready and strengthened to weather them?

[1] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger .Dogma and Preaching Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011. Pg 223

[2] Wilfrid Stinssen. Into Your Hands, Father Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us. San Francisco: Ignatius Press 2011.Pg 15.

[3] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Jesus of Nazareth Part III. San Francisco: Image, 2012. Pg 103.

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