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Jesus Is Bigger Than Life’s Storms

Jesus Is Bigger Than Life’s Storms

Jesus calms the storms of life. (photo: Inset image: Public domain by Jean-Baptiste Bethune )

 

User’s Guide to Sunday, June 23

Sunday, June 23, is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Mass readings: Job 38:1, 8-11; Psalm 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-312 Corinthians 5:14-17Mark 4:35-41.

The Gospel reflects the Christian life as we journey through a stormy world against winds contrary to the Gospel. There are distinctive stages, beginning with the call of Jesus to cross to the other shore. But as we cross, there are surely storms and difficulties that assail us. No matter, the charge to have and keep making the crossing remains the same.

 

The Call of Jesus

“Let us go across to the other side.” This is not merely a call to cross an ancient lake. This is the call to journey to the other shore, to heaven. Such crossings are not uncommon in the Scriptures. The Jewish nation crossed the Red Sea, which God parted for them. Then they crossed the River Jordan to enter the Promised Land, which is a symbol of entering heaven. Having made that crossing, they received their inheritance. Listen to Jesus’ call and then set out; heaven lies ahead.

 

The Real Jesus

“And leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat, just as he was.” For our purposes here, let’s take the text less literally: To accept Jesus into our life means to accept the real Jesus, not some fake or refashioned Jesus. The real Jesus is complex. He sets impossible demands but then forgives the worst of sinners. He is kind and understanding one moment, but stern and refusing of any excuses the next. He consoles and challenges, affirms and unsettles. Many people today have attempted to remake Jesus into a kind of “harmless hippie” who told pleasant stories and went around blessing everyone. Accept the real Jesus just as he is.

 

Stormy Seas

“A great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.” Here they are, amid the inevitable storms of life that will test and purify faith. Such aspects of life often trouble us greatly. Why does God permit such things? He has his reasons, most of which are mysterious. However, we can surely understand some of the ways in which trouble helps to purify and strengthen us. When we are in trouble, we discover gifts we didn’t know we had; we gain wisdom; we learn detachment and humility. We deepen our search and grow to appreciate the answers and the truth more.

 

The Calm of Christ

“But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” In life, it seldom helps to be in a panic. If you want to bring peace, you have to be at peace. Jesus is not unaware of the storm, but he is not alarmed by it. He is able to sleep through it just fine. And we can weather storms with him, too, as he assures: “‘Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?’ And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?’”

Trust that God is bigger than our storms and concerns. We also learn that some of the storms are actually to our benefit; they help to strengthen us, even speeding our journey along.

 

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