Gospel Reflection: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I

Jb 38:1, 8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
Who shut within doors the sea,
when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
When I set limits for it
and fastened the bar of its door,
and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stilled!


Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”


In recent weeks, the Sunday readings have invited us to trust in the Father’s plan for our lives and to have faith in His promises. Such can be tested when the storms of life come our way, like Job and the disciples in the boat experienced.

Pain and suffering are a mystery. We know that, when storms emerge — whether they be health issues, problems at work, difficulties in living out our vocations, or other crosses — we can be tempted to despair. Sometimes, in the midst of the storm, we ask Our Lord the same question as the disciples: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” We can feel as though Our Lord is asleep in the boat.

We know, however, that He has not abandoned us. He is with us, even when His presence is hidden or quiet in a raging storm. In these moments, Our Lord is inviting us to place our faith and confidence in His loving hands. The ‘sorrowful mysteries’ of life often are the greatest teachers of how we must practice patience and surrender, of how to place our confidence in Him. When the storm is strong, we are reminded to stay the course, steadfast in our prayer and trust.

In moments like these, when words fail, I encourage you to return to the treasured devotions of our faith, such as the Holy Rosary and other Marian prayers, the Stations of the Cross, or the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Perhaps attend a weekday Mass, at which you can listen to words we know so well and participate in a ritual that is familiar and comforting. When we cannot articulate everything we are experiencing in difficult moments, these tried-and-true devotions help us remain united to God, Who is the only One that can bring peace to the stormy sea.

In the Responsorial Psalm, we hear that “They cried to the Lord in their distress,” and that “They rejoiced that [the storms] were calmed.” With faith and confidence, we place our crosses in His hands. May we approach His Heart with all our needs, and may we give Him thanks for His never-ending care. He is always with us, even amidst the storms.

Please be assured of my prayers for you before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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