FEASTING ON THE WORD
"If you meditate on the Scriptures it will appear to you in its brilliant splendor." ―St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time ( B )
Job 38:1, 8-11 | Psalm 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31 | 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 | Mark 4:35-41
The readings for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time are given to us to make us think about God and about the role of God in our personal life and in the life of the world. Today we also celebrate Father’s Day, honoring our fathers, grandfathers and all those who have acted as fathers in our life. In this Mass, we shall pray for God’s plentiful blessings for those who are alive and for joys of heaven for those who have died.
I have a friend who in a time of this pandemic lost his job, a sizable fortune, and his beautiful home. To add to his sorrow, his wife left him for some one else; yet he tenaciously held to his faith – the only thing he had left. One day when he was out walking in search of a job, he stopped to watch some men who were doing stonework on a large church. One of them was chiseling a triangular piece of rock. 'Where are you going to put that?' he asked. The workman said, 'Do you see that little opening up there in the bellfry? Well, I AM SHAPING THIS STONE DOWN HERE SO THAT IT WILL FIT IN UP THERE.' Tears filled my friend's eyes as he walked away, for the Lord had spoken to him through that laborer whose words gave new meaning to his troubled situation.
Our first reading comes from the Book of Job. Job and some friends have been arguing about God. As an irreproachable Law-abiding Jew, Job had every right and reason to expect God’s blessing. Instead, his life was beset by terrible misfortunes. Job insisted that in this world the wicked succeed, the innocent suffer; yet God pays no attention to their prayer. Now God himself finally speaks to Job “from the tempest”: “Where were you when I created the world?” God went on to describe the wonders of creation. He made Job realize that it was him who created heavens and earth and put everything where they belong whether the sea or the dry land by the power of his Word. Who was he to question the unnamable and most high? Job changed. He acknowledged God’s greatness and was grateful.
A man and his son went to market with their carabao. As they were walking a countryman passed and said: “You fools, what is a carabao good for but riding?” So the man put the boy on the carabao. Soon they passed a group of men and one said: “See that lazy boy, he lets his father walk while he rides.” So the man ordered his boy to get off, and got on himself. Then they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son march along.” The man didn’t know what to do, so he placed his boy up before him on the carabao. By this time they had come to the town, and passers-by jeered and pointed at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor carabao with you and your large son?” The man and boy got down and didn’t know what to do. They thought and thought, until they cut down a pole, tied the carabao’s feet to it, and raised the pole with the carabao to their shoulders. They went on in the middle of the laughter of everyone who met them until they came to market bridge, when the carabao, wiggling and moving around, caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the carabao fell over the bridge into the water and drowned. “That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them: “Please all, and you will please none!”
So-called “super-apostles” have come to Corinth boasting of their ability to work miracles and preaching a gospel of glory. They have attempted to undermine apostle Paul's reputation and authority. In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, he reminds the people of Corinth that human opinions of his person and ministry, based on external appearances and earthly standards, do not matter. It is Christ who will judge Paul and each of us according to what we have done.
Captain Marco Antonio, experienced coast guard officer asked his son Cadet Mateo Antonio, "What will you do if you encounter a situation where you are on the open waters and a sudden storm occurs?" "I'll drop an anchor, Dad", the Mateo replied. "What will you do if another storm sprang up afterwards?" "I'll drop another anchor, Dad", Mateo answered. "And what if another terrific storm hit afterwards?", Captain Antonio asked. "I'll drop another anchor, Dad", Mateo said. Captain Marco continued, "What if there is another storm?" Mateo said once again, "I'll drop another anchor, Dad." "Now hold on, young man, said the daddy captain, "Where are you getting all your anchors from?" "From the same place you're getting your storms, Dad", the son cadet answered coolly.
In today’s Gospel reading, the disciples were so much frightened by a violent squall which came up and caused so strong waves of water when they were sailing. The waves were breaking the boat so that the water was filling up. It is easy to understand someone who was not used to boats, winds and waves to be frightened by any storm, but this storm was so strong that even the professional fishermen were afraid because they knew the danger. Their skill and their lengthy experience of those waters failed to give them courage. They woke Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" Awakened from His sleep, Jesus does not appear to be surprised or disturbed by the storm. He arose and rebuked the winds and the waves saying, "Quiet! Be still!" Instantly the winds ceased and the sea became calm. Jesus does not pray that God would calm the storm, but commands it himself with sovereign authority: "Quiet! Be still!" The Gospel writer is trying to show us here that Christ is indeed God himself, the creator of entire cosmos, he who can bring order out of chaos. Saint Athanasius of Alexandria suggests the entire event was a calculated test by Jesus, in which he permitted — not caused — the squall, in order to illustrate the spiritual state of the Apostles and allow them to discover their weaknesses, those places where their trust in Jesus must grow. Jesus had been teaching his disciples to trust him — to trust that he was capable of solving life’s hardest problems. Sure there was a storm on — but Jesus was asleep in the boat. If Jesus himself could sleep through this storm, all would be well. There are countless storms that might terrify us and be the cause of great despair in our lives but if Jesus is with us, we could trust in his plans, protection and promises. Simply put, Jesus is our anchor amidst the storms of life. We should be quick to recognize his power and majesty and also quick to trust that he will never leave us and never forsake us.
Heavenly Father, on the occasion of Father's Day, look in favor on all of the wonderful fathers, father figures, and male mentors out there who have touched the lives of people. Bless them with with the power and gifts of your Spirit that they may be strengthened as Christian Fathers. Let the example of their faith and love shine forth. Grant that their children honor them always with a spirit of profound respect. May their wives love them devotedly with tender love. Let them be models of integrity in our society today and be builders of your kingdom of truth, justice and love. May the example of Saint Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, be their inspiration in their daily life of serving love. Grant this through Christ our Lord. <enrique,ofs>
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum