Homily – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Glenstal, 20.06.2021, 10 a.m.

Job 38:1-4, 8-11 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 Mark 4:35-41


Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? (Job 38:1) Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb? (Job 38:4)

On hearing these words Job must have thought that God was entirely alone when he made the world, and that, being all-wise and all-powerful, our Creator had no need of an agent to carry out his work. But in the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel we read: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came into being by him, and nothing has come into being except through him (Jn 1:1-3). These verses tell us in the clearest terms that in fact God is not a lonely being, and he always acts through the agency of his eternal companion – the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (cf. Jn 1:1-3) in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

None of the so-called synoptic gospels – those of Matthew, Mark and Luke – refer to Jesus Christ as the divine Word incarnate, but they too make many allusions to Jesus’ divine nature. For instance, they present Jesus as a man who performs some of the actions that Holy Scripture attributes to God alone, as is the case in today’s third reading, taken from the Gospel of Mark. So let us take a quick look at the main points of the story.

The boat in which Jesus and his disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee was being tossed about by a mighty storm. Woken up by his terrified disciples, Jesus ordered the wind to cease, and the sea to be still, and at once they obeyed his command. Seeing this, the disciples could not but have remembered the words of psalm 107: they cried to the Lord in their need and he rescued them from their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper: all the waves of the sea were hushed (Ps 107, 29). This was how God had rescued those who were about to be swallowed up by the waves, so the disciples asked themselves: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41)

Who indeed is this man who became known to history as Jesus of Nazareth? Countless answers to this question have been given down the centuries, but for those whose minds have been enlightened by faith there is only one answer that can be deemed true and accurate: Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God (cf. Mt 16:16). As St Paul says, we no longer know him from a human point of view (cf. 2 Co 5:16) but profess rather that Jesus Christ is the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God (Nicene Creed). And because faith tell us that Jesus is both human and divine, we place all our hope in his promise that he will always be with us, even to the end of time (cf. Mt 28:20).

In fact trusting that Jesus is very close to us all the time, wherever we may be, we can also understand that today’s gospel is a true parable of our own life in this world – and not just an account of an astonishing miracle that happened in the past – for, when we received the gift of faith and were washed clean in the waters of baptism, we accepted our Lord’s invitation to step into a boat and sail across with him to the other side (cf. Mk 4:35). We are now on our way to our homeland in heaven (cf. Ph 3:20) and are sure to reach our destination if we no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and was raised for our sake (cf. 2 Co 5:16). There can be no doubt that our voyage is a perilous one. At times it may seem that Jesus never really woke up from the sleep of death, and we are going to be engulfed by the waters of destruction. But all shall be well if we have faith (cf. Mk 4:40) and bear in mind the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (Jo 16:33).

Fr Lino OSB

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