Twelve Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

The readings for this Sunday speak about turmoil. The first is from the Book of Job[1]. Job had lost his livelihood. He had lost his children.  He was in terrible physical pain.   At the conclusion of this book of wisdom, God speaks. Part of that is in today’s first reading. God says, “I am present healing the turmoil. Do not question me.  Have faith in me. Look, I took control of the seas, the ancient symbol of chaos.” God is telling Job that He is mightier than any turmoil[2].

In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the people of Corinth, and us, that Christ died so that we might be raised up with Him.  He turned defeat into victory. He is infinitely more powerful than the most powerful force in the world, death.

God’s power over turmoil is particularly seen in the Gospel reading. A storm suddenly comes upon the disciples as they are crossing the Sea of Galilee. The boat is rocking. The ship is probably going to sink. But Jesus is on board, asleep.  In a panic, they wake Him. He quells the storm, and then asks them if they really have faith in Him and in His Father.

And that is the message we all have to remember: turmoil is normal because we live in an imperfect world, a world that rejected the Perfect One. Turmoil is normal, but God is greater than the turmoil.  He sees. He knows. He controls. Only He does that His way, not our way.  So the trials of the family actually help the dad and the mom, as well as the children, become more giving, more Christlike. The effort to solve this or that problem is more important than its solution.  And in the long run, and through faith, God’s hand is seen in the turmoil. We pray to God, and He does answer our prayers.  Sometime, though, he says, “No, I have a better idea that ultimately is going to serve the growth of the Kingdom.”  So, the people prayed that somehow Bishop Ignatius of Antioch would be spared from the beasts in the Coliseum, but God had another idea. So, the family prayed that their child might survive this horrible disease, but God knew that although the child’s life would be brief it would be infinitely valuable.  So, the Teen prayed to get into that college, but God knew that the real opportunity for spiritual growth would be in another college, or, perhaps, no college at all.  And the young man prayed that God would let that girl love him.  And, as the old country song goes, ten years later he thanked God for unanswered prayers.

Look, it is hard to have faith when we are in turmoil.  Everything appears black when there do not appear to be any solutions or end of problems. But we need to be people of faith.  We need to trust in God in the darkness as well as in the light.

This morning we pray at the celebration of the Eucharist that when turmoil hits, we might remain people of faith, attached to our Lord Jesus, our King and the Solid Rock of our spirituality

[1] This is the conclusion to the main section of Job.  In the main section of Job, from the middle of chapter 2 to the beginning of chapter 42, Job questions God.  Chapter 3 begins, “Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. Three friends show up to commiserate with him, but make matters worse by saying that he must have done something horrible to deserve all this. They are like the holier than though friend who tells people that they are responsible for their misery. A fourth, younger man comes, but he just adds coal to the fire by suggesting that Job was not the good man everyone thought he was.  Job responds, “I loath my life.”
[2] 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B), June 21, 2015. Readings: Job 38:1, 8-11; Responsorial Psalm 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41.
Ilustration: usepe de Ribera, Job on the Ash Heap, 17th century. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris