12B – 23 June 2024


Message by: Fr Richard M Healey

MP3 media (9am)

MP3 media (5pm)

In this episode, I reflect on the Gospel story of Jesus calming the storm. I share a personal childhood experience of nearly drowning in a swimming pool, which instilled a lifelong fear of water. This story transitions into a discussion on the symbolism of the storm and the disciples’ fear, drawing parallels to our own life’s challenges. I emphasise the importance of turning to God amidst these storms, finding peace and guidance in His presence. Additionally, I highlight the historical context of early Christian persecution, urging us to cry out to God for salvation and protection.

00:00:00  When I was about two, we’d gone to the local swimming pool with my family for a bit of an outing. Sure, it was a nice hot summer’s day. I was too young to go into the water, so I was just sitting on the edge of the pool, probably with my feet kind of dangling in the water, while everyone else was kind of getting in and out of the water. But for some reason I ended up in the water. I suspect it was one of my older brothers who might have given me a bit of a shove. I can’t remember. It’s a toddler. I didn’t know what to do, and so I just sank to the bottom and began to drown. And thanks be to God. My dad was watching and saw all of this kind of unfolding and jumped into the water and managed to get me out before the drowning took its full effect and impact. But since then I’ve had a pretty healthy, perhaps unhealthy kind of relationship with water.

00:01:00  And there’s been this kind of cautiousness. A lot of my adult life was just trying to overcome a lot of that fear around water as a result of, of this very kind of primal incident. So a gospel like we have today, we were told that it’s in the evening, that it’s when Jesus gets the disciples to begin to head across the lake. Now. I’ve been in little boats a few times, and it’s not a super comfortable kind of place for me to, to kind of be. And so that experience, it’s night time and you’re beginning to row your way across the lake. And the Sea of Galilee is notorious for the sudden storms that could break out upon the water, and the people would be begin to just be, you know, kind of overwhelmed by this, the sound of the wind and the waves as it begins to, to kind of break out upon them and the whole experience as the storm begins to, to really to grow and to the intensity of the storm begins to, to be unleashed.

00:02:12  And the whole experience of the storm suddenly, beginning to erupt around them. The waves are beginning to get stronger and they’re beginning to break over the boat, you know? And what do you do when the storm is beginning to threaten the very boat, you know, where do you go? What do you do? How do you experience that? When the storm is just increasing with intensity, everyone is soaked at this point. You know, the waves are beginning to splash over the boat. The rain is bucketing down. The wind is so strong, you know. What are you doing? Where do you go? Have you grabbed a bucket to begin to to bail out the boat? Are you just holding on for dear life to the front of the boat? Or have you grabbed onto the mask just to be there, you know, just wanting desperately just to make it through this next few minutes, will you, you know, go down to the back of the boat because what is Mark? Tell us, where’s Jesus through all of this? He’s down with the stern with a freaking pillow.

00:03:27  You know, he’s just sleeping there. There’s a nice little cushion. The storm is raging all around. And there he is, he said, asleep on a cushion. Where are you? Where are you? In the midst of the boat. Jesus never told us that there were never going to be storms in our lives. He didn’t say that. If you follow me, if you walk with me, that I will lead you just safely. And there will be bright, sunny days and it’s never going to be crappy weather. It’s just always going to be amazing. Blue skies. You never told us that the storms are going to happen. The storms are going to be present in our experiences. There’s going to be those times when we just feel so entirely overwhelmed by what’s happening. But we always have a choice. We always get to experience where will be when the storms are breaking out around us. We can choose how we will respond. We can just hold on for dear life. We can grab an oar and start to row and start to just try and make sense of things ourselves.

00:04:53  Or we can say, Maybe I’ll just head to the back of the boat. I’ll tell them to shove over. Make some room on that cushion and lie down in the midst of the storm. Well, maybe we’ll just gently wake him up and say, master, the storm is getting a bit freaky, and I’m scared and I’m overwhelmed at this point. Can you just do your thing? Can you say your word? And when he does, of course. What happens then? There is. That silence. There is that stillness. There is that place where we can find our life once again with God. The Lord wants to be there for us. He wants to have that authority over our lives. He wants to be the one who can come on the wind and the waves to be still quiet now. But we have to choose. We have to recognise that in the midst of all of that action that’s happening around us, every time we can come back to the centre, every time we can return to be with the one who will love us and protect us and ensure that the storm is never going to overwhelm us.

00:06:17  Remember that the story was written like so many of the early Christian stories, at a time of incredible persecution when the Emperor Nero was unleashing the full fury of the empire against the Christians. This week we celebrate the feast of Saint Peter and Paul, and both of them were martyred at this time. It’s most likely the reason that Mark realised he had to get pen to paper. He had to start telling the story before all of the early leaders in the church were martyred and were killed for their faith. And so, in the midst of all of those storms, Mark understood that we have to cry out to God to save us, to bring that salvation that we need. We get that choice to cling to the Lord, to allow him to lead us safely across the waters. Let’s continue just to just to be there with the Lord in the midst of our storms. They’re not going to go away instantly, but with his power, with his authority, he can guide us and take us safely to the other shore.

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