Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time • Year B

Nicholas F. Martorano, O.S.A.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Friary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Job 38:1,8-11
Ps 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31
2 Cor 5: 14-17
Mk 4: 35-41

Just for a moment, I ask you to try and put aside all your external and internal distractions and try to still your restless hearts and minds from all the worries, problems, concerns and issues you carry with you right now. It is a great challenge, isn’t it? Now, I ask you to walk with me through today’s Scripture message from Jesus.

Imagine how you, with your restless hearts and minds are like the boat in the Gospel today. You are surrounded by a violent storm with waves breaking over the boat and you are filled with fear as the boat fills with water. Picture these waves as the worries, problems, concerns and stressful issues that are overwhelming your peace. You are being overpowered like the boat in the Gospel, with the water and waves from the sea. You probably have much anxiety and fear in you because you think that you are not in total control of your life. Is it your marriage? Your job? Your children? Sickness in you or others? Elderly parents? Unpaid bills? What else could it be for you?

Don’t feel that you are alone, because the boat in the Gospel today shows us that there are others who travel with you who have their fears and anxieties. You are with other Disciples and even Jesus Himself! Well, here is a powerful part of the Gospel that we can probably also relate to in some way. It states: “Jesus was in the stern of the boat, asleep on a cushion.” The Disciples are in shock and Jesus is comfortably sleeping on a cushion no less!

So, the Disciples finally get up enough courage to approach their sleeping master: “They woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” Who in here cannot relate to this statement? You’re struggling emotionally, you’re hoping that God will intervene in your problems and worries. You are praying silently every day for God’s help, but no answer. It is as though He is sleeping comfortably while you are in pain!

Did you reach the point that you became angry enough to cry out to Jesus as the Disciples did: “Wake up! Don’t you care about me?” Can’t you see what I am going through? I’m beginning to drown in pain.”

As you know, it is not over yet, because Jesus heard the cries of the Disciples, got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Quiet, Be Still! That is all it took from Jesus. The question is, did you listen carefully enough to hear Jesus say to you, Quiet, Be Still? The wind that was causing the storms within you now cease because you trusted in the Lord Jesus. You gave control to Him just like Job in the First Reading, dealing with his life’s storms. God told Job that He, God, was the one who “sets the limits.” “Here shall your proud waves be stilled,” said God.

Well, then the wind was still, the storms quieted in the Disciples and Jesus said to them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” The Disciples, and hopefully you too, understand the power of God. All restless hearts and minds come to peace.

But, did this mean that the Disciples would no longer have any more problems and fears? Does it mean that you will no longer have any more problems and fears? No, of course not. It means that you can have calm and peace even through life’s difficulties because you allow Jesus to be in control! Then the wind of the Holy Spirit in you can provide the strength, faith and calm you long for over the stormy winds of life. 

St. Augustine said, after reflecting on his stormy life, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Even though Jesus may seem to be silent and unresponsive at times, be assured in faith that He is not. Let go and rely on Him. That is the challenge of the Gospel today.

St. Paul said in the Second Reading, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away: behold new things have come.” Yes, new things can come to you also as you journey with others in your boat of life “to the other side.” Meaning, hopefully, Heaven – if you journey with Jesus.

The Eucharist assures us that Jesus travels with us in love. It helps to make our restless hearts and minds find peace until we reach “the other side.”