Homily for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Let us cross to the other side...

Is Jesus taking a nap in your boat?
Have you had trouble trying to wake him up?
Do you sometimes wonder if he’s even on board?
Is he taking a long time to calm the storm around you?

That’s pretty much the scene in today’s gospel
and it might seem at first glance that this story
is about Jesus rescuing us from the storms of life.
But is that so?

One of the most important lines in this story
may have slipped right by us. It was right at the beginning:
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross to the other side.’”

That’s Jesus telling us:
“We're going somewhere. And we’re going together.
We’re going to move from here to a different place.
Things are changing and I’m going with you.”

And that’s just when the squalls and storms come up, isn’t it?
When we realize that things are changing:
changing from health to sickness;
changing from employment to unemployment;
changing from surety to confusion;
changing from marriage to divorce;
changing from at-home to away-from-home;
changing from a full nest to an empty nest;
changing from security to fear…

When changes are on the horizon, Jesus tells us,
“Come with me.
We’re going to get to the other side of this.
I’m with you: even if it seems that I’m asleep, I’m with you.
Even if your boat gets tossed by the wind and waves,
even if you take on a lot of water,
even if you get thrown overboard,
have faith in me: I’m with you.”

But how is he with us?

The question raised by this story is much less,
“Will Jesus perform a miracle and calm my stormy seas?”
and much more,
“Do I trust Jesus to be with me
even and especially when things are at their worst,
when I cannot see the other side,
when I don’t know where I’m going or how to get there?”

From what disaster in this gospel does Jesus really save his friends?
From a storm? Yes, but from much more than the storm:
he saves them from their own lack of faith and trust in him
-- which, for a follower of Christ
is an even bigger disaster than any storm at sea.*

Stories like this might tempt us to approach Jesus
as a miracle dispenser to save us in the nick of time.
But that’s not what Christ offers or promises.
What he offers is the faithfulness of a true friend, a beloved spouse
who promises to be with us in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health -- not just until death parts us --
but even THROUGH death.
The one miracle Christ does promise every faithful follower
is that he will be with us through the storm of death
crossing over with us to the other side
where there will be life, and only peace, forever.

We seem to understand this, don’t we,
when we DO pray for a miracle
-- and no miracle comes.
We know that Christ himself prayed to be spared his storm,
his suffering,
but that his passion and Cross came nonetheless.
Even that did not keep him from trusting in his Father’s love
and his crossing over through suffering and death, to life forever.

Every week we come from the wind and waves of our own lives
and gather at this altar to remember and celebrate
the story of Jesus’ unspared suffering and death
and to share in the life that is ours already
in the gift, the calm, the peace of the Eucharist.

Let us keep faith and trust in Christ
“whom even the wind and sea obey,”
who has power even over life and death.

*See Joyce Ann Zimmerman



  1. Excellent homily Padre, as always, much better when hearing it in person!

  2. Thank you for a timely and thoughtful homily. I take it to heart, even if I am all the way down in Washington, DC. Thank you.

  3. Very beautiful homily... I had the good fortune to hear a good one myself, but I am always glad to click on over here and read your words. Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for this beautiful homily. It is just what I needed to hear today. To really let in that we are never alone no matter what is going on in our lives, that our God is with us, and wants to be with us, that he has walked the path before us, is such a powerful message and fills me with hope.

  5. I am so glad to have found your blog! I love your Monday morning offerings especially...
    Blessings to you today Father,
    Mrs.P x

  6. Thank you, Mrs Pogle, and welcome aboard!


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