Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time: When It Rains It
Very soon now we will be beginning our summer monsoons. We really don’t have monsoons here in the Tampa Bay area like they have in the Tropics, but we try our best. Last year we went to some pretty steep expense to provide hurricane protection so that, among other things, our Church roof does not relocate to the next county. If it does, well, I won’t leave a forwarding address.
We have to have a lot of respect for stormy weather, particularly when a hurricane threatens. As careful as we are with ourselves and our property that is on land, we have to be far more careful with any property we might have that is in the water. Boats have got to be secured. Trying to stay afloat during a major storm is foolish unless you are in a really large ship (and have a really strong stomach).
The ancients had a healthy respect for the sea and for storms out on the sea. The biblical people lived right on the shores of the Mediterranean, or they counted on the sea of Tiberias, or a major river like the Nile or the Euphrates for their lives. The ancients saw the sea as one of the most powerful force in the world. They also saw the sea as a source of beauty. Life itself come from the sea. Food came from the sea. Peace and serenity come from looking at the sea. If you don’t believe me than you haven’t gone out to see the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico recently.
Even though it was such a powerful force, the ancients knew that God could control the sea. In the Book of Job, Job’s pains lead him to question God's wisdom and power. God challenges Job with the simple statement found in the first reading for this Sunday: “I closed up the sea.” God has even more power than the sea.
The fear of a storm at sea was too much for Jesus' disciples in the today’s Gospel reading. Many of them were fishermen. They were terrorized when they saw the storm coming. When Jesus quieted the sea and the winds, they recognized the power of God working through him. Their question: “Who is this that calms the storm and the winds?” was similar to asking, “Who is the King of Glory?” First, though, their faith was tried. Remember, when the storm first came up, Jesus was asleep in the boat. It seemed as though He was not concerned with their plight. It seemed that they had to ride out this storm alone.
The fear that the disciples had is the exact fear that we all have when we are confronted with a crisis. We find out that we have a serious illness. We realize that our marriage is in jeopardy. We learn a terrible truth about one of our relatives or friends. God, who is closer to each of us than our skins knows our plight and challenges us as Jesus challenged his disciples, “Why are you afraid? Where is you faith?” It is then that we realize that our all loving god is also an all powerful God. He will calm the sea for us if we trust in him. God does not forget us, even if we think he is sleeping.
Yes, when it rains it pours, but, the King of Glory is in control. Today we pray for faith whenever we are thrown into turmoil.