No One Escapes the Storms

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 23, 2024 Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 4:35-41

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What is more common than conversations about the weather? Like many, I have family relatives and friends scattered across the country. Whenever we connect, there is always some mention of the weather. Pleasant? Uncomfortable? Miserable? Inquiring minds want to know. No matter where we live, weather conditions are usually a part of our thoughts and plans.

Another common concern is how the weather can change. More recently we are increasingly concerned of increased weather dangers. Especially impending storms. In today’s gospel we are given an account of a storm, a violent squall, that arose while Jesus and some of his disciples were on the water. Clearly a situation that could be quite dangerous, even fatal. In the midst of this danger, Mark adds that Jesus was calmly asleep on a cushion at the rear of the boat. An interesting detail.

The disciples began to panic. We don’t know much of what transpired except they woke Jesus to help. His reaction was basically to calm their fears and remind them of God’s care for them. The storm passed. They survived.

This is a narrative we all can relate to. We personally encounter some kind of storm almost every day of our lives. Ther are personal storms, family flare-ups, work difficulties, health scares, financial worries – the list is almost endless. No one seems to escape without storms. They seem to be an essential part of our God given lives. No matter who we are. So what can we do?

First, recall what happened in the boat on that frightful day. The disciples were threatened by a storm and became fearful They then turned to Jesus for help. He assured them of his concern and calmed the storm. They did what they could do, acknowledging their limits, fears and their need for assistance. Sometimes that’s all we can do.

I have been helped in my journey by recalling advice rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. It goes like this: Act as if everything depends on you and pray as if it all depends on God. It’s complicated for sure, but at times, it’s all we can do.

The general weather forecast remains - seasonal weather with occasional storms. Don’t expect it to be different. But also, don’t depend solely on your own efforts to survive. Know that God always wants to help.

David M. Thomas, PhD

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