Homily for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (June 21)

Homily for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

(Job 38.1-4,8-11; Psalm 107; 2 Corinthians 5.14-17; Mark 4,35-41)

Have you ever found yourselves in one of these conversations.  A parent says. “Just do it! “

“Why?” responds the child. 

“Because I said so,” says the parent.

“But why?”

“Don’t question me. I have had more experience and I know what I am talking about. Just do it!”

One of the the things that is constantly re-iterated in the Bible is that God can do anything. In the reading from Job, it seems that God has lost his patience with Job, and berates him like this parent because he doesn’t seem to get it – God has created everything and has power over everything. Who are we, God asks, to question God? No, God is the one who does the questioning, Job is told.

Who has more knowledge? Were you around when I created the universe? Where you there when I created the lands and separated them from the seas? When I set up the weather pattern for the earth? It frightens me a little that we try to know more than God, or even that we think we do. What might be in store for us to bring us down from our pedestals. When people thought they could build a tower to get to heaven in Babel, they were punished. God says the same thing to Job.

Does that mean that we can’t question God? I don’t think so. As long as we question God with the honest faith that God will know better than we do, and there may be circumstances God knows that we don’t.

In the Psalm today people have constructed ships that can conquer the ocean, and even though the sailors were in awe of a God who could create such wonders of the sea, they still felt that their shipbuilding was a great achievement. Then, though, when the storms came, they realized that they were still dependent on God, and were not afraid to cry out to God for help. And God heard their pleas and calmed the storm and hushed the waves. So, as long we as we are not proud and think that we are little gods, we can ask God and God will listen to us, and help us. Just as in the Job reading, we need, however, to know our place.

Because the dominant imagery tiring together the readings today is the water and the seas, the Gospel shows that, unlike the sailors who go down to the sea in ships but have no control over the seas as God does, Jesus is able to do what God does. He is able to calm the seas. The overwhelming question of his followers then is “Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” has already been answer in the Book of Job and the Psalms. God is the only one with that kind of control.

The reaction of the apostles was, of course, one of awe. When we talk about God, we often talk about fear of God, but a proper understanding of the word fear is more the word “awe”.  We are amazed and in awe of the greatness of God and the abilities of God. The word “awesome” has become rather clichéd today, but does indicate some sense of the word. In actuality the only really awesome thing is God.

The Apostles are beginning in Mark to understand that Jesus was God-like, even if they haven’t been able to piece it all together yet. This takes time in Mark. the Apostles are not the brightest bulbs in the package.

We sometimes sing a beautiful hymn called “The Charity of Christ” whose words are from the reading from Paul today – The charity of Christ urges us on, urges us onwards day by day… Christ’s love will show us the way.” The word “charity” is a translation of caritas or love in Latin. Even though the reading from Corinthians was not picked for its thematic relationship to the other readings today, it does fit in very well with the theme of the awesome God today.

Paul says: we regard no one from a human point of view, Even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.” Like the Apostles who saw Jesus as a simple human carpenter, they came to realize that he was not just human. And now Paul is saying that because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we too, are “in Christ” and can’t be seen just from a human point of view, but God is now within us.  “Everything has become new”.

This certainly does not mean that we have become gods, and we must never think of ourselves in that light, but that God has come within us – we are vessels for God, we are “new creations”, and we need to act accordingly.

I often ask you to spend time during the week seeing Christ in others. This week more than ever I would like you to try that exercise – talk to others as though you were talking to God. the result will be a charity – a love, the kind of love that “urges us on”. Perhaps we can calm the seas of another’s distress, we can be the answer to their prayers to God, we can be the love that God generates and bring our “God-ness” to the world around us. We may not be able to calm the weather’s storm, but we can manage to bring peace to the stormy life of another by doing God’s work.

And this is just one of the things that can make us “awesome” in the Good News today!

Bishop Ron Stephens

Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[You can purchase a complete Cycle A and Cycle B of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast, from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

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