12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday Church at Home

during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

 

Jesus Rules the Waves of the Sea.

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

 

Leader:          In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

All reply:        Amen

 

Leader:          Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

All reply:        Blessed be God for ever

 

Leader:          We have nothing to be afraid of, no matter what storm threatens to overwhelm us, God is with us. We need to trust in Christ’s calming presence — and not to be afraid to ask for help. And on this Father’s Day, we honour the presence and memory of our fathers — and those who have played a father’s role in our lives.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

First Reading: Job 38:1.8-11

 

Introduction to the reading: The book of Job is a long parable which grapples with the question of why bad things happen to good people. In today’s passage, God responds to Job and in effect says, “I created, and I sustain in the whole universe, including the mighty oceans. So answers to question like why people suffer are beyond your limited knowledge.”

 

 

A reading from the Book of Job

The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
“Who shut in the sea with doors,
when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?”

 

The word of the Lord.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 107:23-26.28-31 (R. 1)

Let us pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. O give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his mercy endures forever!

Some went down to the sea in ships,
to trade on the mighty waters.
These have seen the deeds of the Lord,
the wonders he does in the deep.

For he spoke and raised up the storm-wind,
tossing high the waves of the sea
that surged to heaven and dropped to the depths.
Their souls melted away in their distress.

Then they cried to the Lord in their need,
and he rescued them from their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.

They rejoiced because of the calm,
and he led them to the haven they desired.
Let them thank the Lord for his mercy,
his wonders for the children of men.

R/. O give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his mercy endures forever!

 

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Introduction to the reading: Some members of the Corinthian community found it hard to accept Paul’s teachings. They challenged his credentials as an apostle because he was not an eyewitness to the earthly life of Jesus. In this passage, Paul defends his ministry as an apostle.

 

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ urges us on,
because we are convinced that one has died for all;
therefore all have died.
And he died for all,
that those who live might live no longer for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore,
we regard no one according to the flesh;
even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh,
we regard him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation;
the old has passed away,
behold, the new has come.

The word of the Lord.

 

Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen among us, and God has visited his people.
Alleluia.

 

Gospel: Mark 4:35-41

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark

On that day, when evening had come,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Let us go across to the other side.”
And leaving the crowd,
they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat.
And other boats were with him.
And a great storm of wind arose,
and the waves beat into the boat,
so that the boat was already filling.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;
and they woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”

And he awoke and rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”  

And they were filled with awe, and said to one another,
“Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily

Some years ago I was out walking with a friend when a large dog, a Golden Labrador, came lumbering toward us. I had grown up with dogs and thus could tell the difference between a dog moving aggressively and one approaching benignly seeking merely to establish contact. But my friend had not grown up with dogs and in fact had been bitten by one as a youngster. Each of us looked at the dog approaching us. We saw the same scene but reacted to it very differently. My friend was afraid, while I was delighted. He reacted angrily and defensively – he wanted to pick up a stone and throw it. I put my hand out and greeted the dog, patting it and letting it smell my hand. With my experience, I was able to bring peace to the situation. An violent reaction might well have provoked the dog to turn aggressive.

 

And so we see something similar here in the boat. Jesus is able to sleep peacefully in the storm, but the disciples are panicked. Jesus knows His Father; He also knows the end of the story. Why are we so afraid? Storms will come and storms will go, but if we love God we will be saved, even if we die to this world. If you have this peace, you too will calm storms. Peaceful people have an effect on others around them. We cannot give what we do not have. We ask the Lord for a heart that is at peace, not just for your own sake but for that of others. Because He is at peace, Jesus can rebuke the storm. How about us?

The first brief reading from Job blends with our gospel. Job was a faithful man who felt blessed by God because he had great fortune – family, land, crops and livestock. When tragedy came on him and everything was taken away, his friends tried to “comfort” him. And this was the ‘comfort’ they offered: they urged Job to accept the blame for the evils that befell him and caused his tragedy.

That was the thinking in ancient times: God punished a person because they had sinned. So, Job’s friends urged him to repent. But Job had nothing to repent from and asked so the big question: How could God let all this evil happen to him, an innocent person?

Job cries out to God from his turmoil. He demands God justify the tragedy that had happened to him, “Let the Almighty answer me!” (31:35). God finally replied to Job’s anguish; but does not resolve the accusation of injustice Job makes against God. God does not present an argument of self-defense for what happened to Job instead, addresses a revelation, “out of the storm.” To put it succinctly: God is the Creator and Job is not.

That is the heart of Jewish faith – God alone is God. When bad things happened, Job did not receive an answer to his protest. But God assures him that God is in charge; Job does not have to face his trials alone. Here is an echo of Psalm 46:11,

“Be still and know that I am God… The Lord of hosts is with us, our stronghold is the God of Jacob.”

The anguish of Job in the midst of his storm is similar to what the disciples felt during the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was sleeping, so the disciples woke him up and asked, “Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?”

There are questions raised by the storms in our lives and the answers we sometimes give are as useless as those given by Job’s friends to his tragedies. When our faith is threatened we might present and demand justification from God. There are no quick answers to why bad things happen to us. But we struggle to believe what Job learned: God alone is our God and is with us, just as Jesus was with his disciples in the boat that night in the storm.

When Mark wrote his Gospel, the Christian community was experiencing terrible persecution. Leaders and followers had been martyred and, like the frightened disciples in the boat with a sleeping Jesus, they also questioned what was happening to them. The church was undergoing internal strife as well as they struggled to combine Jews and Gentiles into their new Christian community. The church was hardly sailing calm waters – not unlike the church today.

The story in the gospel begins with Jesus asking the disciples to go with him “to the other side.” I hear in that phrase that something is about to happen. It’s not just a change of physical place that they are about to experience. They are going with him to a foreign place, leaving their accustomed lives, crossing over the water to the unfamiliar. The church is also on a journey to a new place. The church cannot play it safe, especially when there are storms around it.

In the Bible turbulent waters is a symbol for chaos. Remember how Genesis began: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland and darkness covered the abyss.” In the beginning there was chaos and disorder, waiting for God to speak a word, “Let there be light.” The story of the calming of the waters shows Jesus participating in God’s power over the darkness and the chaotic’.

Let us think about the darkness that surrounds us, the church and the whole world these days. And I am not just thinking of Eskom and load shedding! Will we “cross to the other side”? When will we rid ourselves of this deadly virus? Will we “cross over” to justice and peace in our country by eliminating corruption and violence? What about our faith, will it sustain us and even grow, when we receive Jesus’ powerful words in our storms?

We join our prayers with those of our Jewish ancestors today as we cry out, “Save me O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.” (Psalm 69:1)

From today’s Gospel reading:

The disciples woke Jesus and said to him,

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea,

“Quite! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was a great calm.

Reflection:

There is much that affects our church these days:  scandal on the inside and rejection and persecution from the outside. With the disciples we are tempted to ask Jesus, “Don’t you care….?”  Today’s gospel directs us to turn to Christ, who cares for God’s storm-tossed children and ask him to speak a word of calm over the powerful forces that distress us – “”Quiet! Be still!”

So we ask ourselves: 

  • What turbulent forces in my life frighten me and test my faith?
  • Have I invited Jesus to speak a word that will give me courage and inner calm?

 

 Leader:          Blessing for Father’s Day

 

Heavenly Father,
Today we ask You to bless our earthly fathers
for the many times they reflected the love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy that You exemplify in Your relationship with us, Your children.

We honour our fathers for putting our needs above their own convenience and comfort;
for teaching us to show courage and determination in the face of adversity;
for challenging us to move beyond self-limiting boundaries;
for modelling the qualities that would turn us into responsible, principled, caring adults.

We ask your blessing on those men who served
as father figures in our lives
when our biological fathers weren’t able to do so.

Give new and future fathers the guidance they need
to raise happy and holy children,
grounded in a love for God and other people –
and remind these fathers that treating their wives
with dignity, compassion and respect is
one of the greatest gifts they can give their children.

We ask this in union with St. Joseph,
whom you entrusted with Your Son Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirt,
one God forever and ever, Amen.

 

Prayer of the Faithful

 

Leader:          We ask the Father to help us make our way through life, in the company of his Son.

 

Reader:

We pray for Pope Francis: (pause) that he may be blessed with the hope that gives courage to others.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for a calming of the storms in our lives: (pause) that God will sustain us through the challenges of each day, give us the courage to make decisions, and enduring hope when we cannot foresee tomorrow

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all fathers and those who have shown the Father’s love to us: (pause) that God will make them beacons of light, sources of encouragement and grant them peace and health.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for a spirit of openness: (pause) that minds and hearts will be receptive to the insights and challenges presented by Pope Francis in the encyclical on the environment.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for the protection of the human family: (pause) that God will strengthen those who are working to defeat the Covid virus, speed resources to those in crisis, and bring healing to all who are sick.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for deceased members of our families and friends whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for Jean Spurr who died during the week.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.

 

And let perpetual light shine on her.

May she rest in peace.  Amen

 

Leader:          Let us pray our PRAYER DURING THE CORONVIRUS PANDEMIC:

 

Loving God,

Your desire is for our wholeness and well being.

We hold in tenderness and prayer

the collective suffering of South Africa

during the coronavirus pandemic.

We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.

We ache for ourselves and our neighbours,

standing before an uncertain future.

We pray: may love, not fear, go viral.

Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely

so that the rollout of vaccines may be efficient

and reach all our people.

Help us to practice social distancing

and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.

Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,

You, the God who does not abandon.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

 

 

CONCLUDING RITE

 

Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

 

All say:          Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:          In the beginning, O God,
your Word subdued the chaos;
in the fullness of time
you sent Jesus, your Son,
to rebuke the forces of evil and bring forth a new creation.
By that same power,
transform all our fear into faith and awe in your saving presence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

All:                  Amen.

 

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

 

All:                  Amen.

 

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