HOMILY


12th Ordinary Sunday (B)                                                    Mark 4:35-41

 

When I was a young boy every Friday evening I would sit by the radio and listen to the William Tell Overture and then ride into the thrilling days of yesteryear… Hi-Yo-Silver; — the Lone Ranger. And at the end of every story, after this masked man stood up for the righteous and righted any wrongs he encountered. The people whose lives he had affected would ask, as he rode off into the sunset, "Who was that masked man?" Those of us listening to the radio, we knew who he was. We knew the answer to that question, we knew the Lone Ranger, intimately. Because we knew his and Tonto’s story.

Today, Saint Mark asks a similar question at the end of his story of Jesus stilling the wind and the water. The Apostles discuss among themselves saying, "Who then is this man, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" — you and I, we know who it is! It is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Because we know his story; — and if you’re Christian and don’t know it, you had better learn it — we know it is Jesus who is one divine person with two natures, human and divine. Jesus and the Creator are one; for only the Creator can control the nature He created. There are those who will tell you that Jesus didn't know He was God. Some ersatz theologians believe that somehow at the end of His life He discovers that He is the Messiah. These people would deny the hypostatic union, that is, that Jesus is perfect God and perfect man in one Person. We believe who Jesus is because scripture and tradition tell us the His divinity and His humanity.

Jesus allowed His disciples to go through this terrifying experience, which we read about today, because he wanted them to have confidence in who he was and believe in his protection, that’s why he asks them, "Why are you afraid?" This boat of the apostle’s probably belongs to Peter, and it is symbolic of the Church herself, traditionally it’s referred to as the barque of Peter with Pope Francis at the helm. This Catholic Church through twenty centuries has encountered many storms and trials. Storms that could have easily swamped her if she had not had a divine founder. She has been attacked from outside and from within. Many Church Fathers have indicated that the Church must be divine because we have been trying to destroy it for over 2000 years. Christ has kept His promise, for the gates of Hell have not and cannot prevail against her. She has survived the storms and has grown in strength and understanding. Even this modern Marxist, Freemason attack on the Church will ultimately fail.

This same divine protection is with His Church today. It will save her from internal weakness, which could do more damage than all external persecution she has ever survived. In fact, under persecution the Church actually flourishes. Jesus will ultimately rebuke the winds of pride and calm, the waves of ego and the barque of Peter will enter calm waters once more.

What is true of the life of the Church is true for each of her members. Each of us is on that same journey to the other side of the sea of life. We have watched our older generations being tossed by trials and horrendous problems as they proceeded to disappear over the horizon of time. We too encounter the storms. When the heavy seas break across our bow we cry, why does God allow us to suffer like this, why must we bear all this poverty, all these pains, all this loss of faith and persecution? Most of us here, have been faithful to God. If God is good, if He is love, why does He allow this to happen?

If there were no life after death, no eternal reward, there would be no answer to that question. There would be no God for us. But we don't believe that. We believe that God wants us to share His eternal life with Him. Life is not an end — but a means to the real end … perfect eternal happiness. Too often, like the disciples, we think that Jesus has abandoned us, that He is not interested in us when the storms of life are breaking all around us. But that, in fact, is when He is closest of all. When temptation is strong, grace abounds all the more.

In her book on the Holocaust theologian Dorothy Zolla asks the question: Where was God at Aucshwitz? You know what her answer is? Her answer is, God was at the side of each and every victim, grieving and hurting and dying with them.

Sometimes we think Jesus is sleeping and that all is lost. But He is just using this storm to rekindle our faith, to remind us that we are pilgrims making our way across the sea of life. We are not permanent residents here. Where is your faith? He asks us, in the midst of the storm.

Our faith makes it possible to answer the question from St. Mark. "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" He, my friend, is God and he loves us and constantly watches over each one of us. He cares about our soul, — when temptation comes to us it is in the storm of our life, don’t let Christ be asleep in us! Awaken him, for he is the one whom even the wind and the seas obey. Sleep with him, rest in his arms and you will always be comfortable.

Ext meeting © JOSEPH MEILINGER 2021