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Scripture Reflection - June 23, 2024

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Scripture Reflection

"A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,

so that it was already filling up."

Many years ago, while on a whale watching excursion in Provincetown, a squall similarly popped up, sending many of my fellow passengers to the sides of the boat, the waves throwing the calm of our bodies off course as the boat roller coasted forward. Having gone through this event, I can almost feel the disciples' hearts beating fast and their sense of helplessness rising with the water in the boat; their whole world was literally being rocked.


Unstated that they were most certainly filled with fear, they turn to the one whom they were learning to depend on and after waking him cry out, don't you care..?  I find these words a perplexing first question that Mark puts on their lips. While the situation suggests their lives are in danger they do not, say "help." Instead, they seem to focus on what they consider to be the "absence" of Jesus during a time of great need.


Two thousand plus years later, we find ourselves in a world that is also being rocked. Waves of violence, poverty, injustice, and challenges to the wellness of our health and our earth threaten us and play out in a variety of different forms on a daily basis. It seems that we, like the disciples and Job in the first of today's readings, are trying to understand the "where" of God in this global suffering.


Going back to Mark's story, we find that Jesus, whose fidelity the disciples' have questioned, is indeed a caring God who quietly commands the situation back into calmness. Then he, in turn, questions the status of their faith. In their distress, they had been unable to see that sleeping Jesus was a calming, steady presence with them all along. This event occurs in the earlier section of Mark's gospel as the disciples are growing into their relationship with Jesus and the learning curve of their faith is new. In the calmness that Jesus has created, their minds are being opened to greater challenges of the deeper meaning of faith and the identity of Jesus.


As modern time disciples, we also continue to grow in our relationship with God and can struggle with the fidelity of our faith, especially when faced with responding to the crises of our world. While we have the benefit of looking back on the Paschal Mystery of Jesus and living it forward each day, it can be easy to miss the calming presence of God whom we depend on while our hearts are struggling with the world's suffering. Perhaps the challenge of our prayer is to not question the "where" of God, but to ask, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, "how" is God in this suffering. Then our minds too can be opened to the greater challenges of living our faith and our responsibility in growing the kingdom of God.


Sr. BarbaraAnn Sgro, OP


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