Unexpected “Storms”

Reflection for 12th Sunday of the Year June 23rd

A woman with five small children decided that their summer holiday should begin with planting a garden.  So she took her little brood to the nursery where, for the next two hours, they squabbled over who got to push the shopping cart, insisted on seeing every plant in the five-acre greenhouse, cried very hard when there were no pink petunias, and broke a large pot.  Home at last, she complained to her patient husband, “All I want is peace and quiet and some beautiful flowers.”

“My dear,” said her husband, “I believe they call that a funeral.”

For those of us who aren’t quite ready for a funeral, peace and quiet and beautiful flowers are not on the menu most of the time. What is on the menu for all of us – young and old – is a steady diet of new things we haven’t tried before.

Sometimes it can be more traumatic: the unexpected storms that throw our “boats” off course, that cause us to panic and ‘freak,” that throw us off balance and distort our perspective. Within each of us is the grace of the “awakened” Jesus in today’s Gospel: the wisdom, the patience, the courage to discern the presence of God amid the storms of tension, fear, anxiety, and injustice we experience.

The words Jesus addresses to the storm can just as well be addressed to us: Peace! Be still! In our stormy, whirl-wind lives, we need to make time for peace and stillness in order to hear the voice of the Spirit; to reset our compass as we navigate our small boats through life’s stormy Galilee sea; to check our bearings to make sure that we are living our lives in the hope and joy in which God created us to live them. The big question for all of us is always the same: as the next door opens and we come face to face with our next challenge, will we freeze in fear and pull back or will we walk through the door and come to grips with whatever we find there?

The question is not whether being alive is dangerous and difficult.  We know it’s dangerous and difficult!  There’s always some kind of “storm” rocking the boat.  The real question is whether we’re going to let our fear of life’s dangers and difficulties take over and shape us.  Will we let fear master us and shrink our life small?

The answer we give to that question will come right from the core of our relationship to the Lord.  For if we know deep inside how much God loves us and what marvellous gifts we’ve already received, there’s no room for fear or for the “living death” that fear imposes on its victims.  There’s only room for the peace, hope, and joy that no sadness can take from us.

The grace of the Risen Christ enables us to discern the presence of God amid the roar of anger and mistrust and to recognize the light of God in the darkness of selfishness and prejudice. So let us embrace what remains of this day and what remains of our lives with a serene confidence that is rooted in the sure and certain knowledge that God is with us and for us now and always.

Fr. Kevin