Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 20th of June 2021
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Have you ever been in the middle of a storm? We don’t normally get bad storms here in Ireland but maybe over the last few years your power was down due to Storm Ophelia or Storm Emma. You can feel very helpless because once it starts, you just have to wait it out.
Sometimes we go through other kinds of storms. When you have an important exam but haven’t been able to study or when a relationship breaks up or worse again, when we loose someone to cancer or suicide. It can feel like everything is spiralling out of control and there is nothing to hold on to.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asleep in a boat while the apostles are fearing for their lives in a great storm. “ Master, do you not care? We are going down!” they say. Do you not care? Do you not see? Do you not know? So often we accuse the Lord of this and while it is understandable that we don’t want to suffer, it is not fair to blame God for everything that goes wrong. We have a narrow and partial understanding of our small portion of our town in our small country in our short view of history. We don’t always understand why God would allow suffering but we do know that God sees all and knows all and turn all to the good for those who love him. (Rm 8:28)
In our first reading Job has battled with the same question: why do bad things happen to good people? God’s answer wasn’t so much a clear argument as to why there is suffering but rather that He knows everything: He has a greater purpose for everything even the cross. He lists some of the wonderous things of the created world -seas, tides, stars- and asks Job if he knows how any of it works or how it was created. At the end of it Job chooses silence as he can’t answer God’s questions.
While true, it’s not a very satisfying answer so let’s make it simple.
God is good. We know this because of creation and most especially because Jesus died for us.
God may allow suffering but never wants it as it is a consequence of the fall.
The greatest good isn’t long life or health (great at these are) but rather, heaven: eternal life.
While crosses are hard and may make us feel overwhelmed and helpless, we can unite them to the cross of Jesus so that they too might bring good into the world.
“And Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!”
Jesus, we ask you to show your power in our lives and calm the storms we are going through so that when the dust settles, we may find ourselves at your feet.
– Fr Patrick Cahill