Storms and Faith
(12th Ordinary Sunday: Job 38:1, 8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41)
If we notice only the words God speaks to Job in the first reading, we can miss an important point: “The Lord addressed Job out of the storm.” God is not only the Master of the storm, he is there within it.
Job had to deal with physical sufferings, bewilderment, and the misguided comfort offered by his friends. All this caused a storm within him. What he did not know was that God was in the storm with him, protecting him even as he allowed Job to be tested.
In the Psalm, God raised up the storm and then, in answer to prayer, “hushed it to a gentle breeze.” The Gospel shows Jesus sleeping during a squall, while the boat was filling up with water. The disciples’ cries to him were not prayers but complaints: “Do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus in turn reproaches them: “Do you not yet have faith?”
The Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette raised the same question. Panic in the face of the approaching famine was beginning to assume storm-like proportions in the local towns and beyond. Where was their faith? The Beautiful Lady came to show them that they were not abandoned, and that what mattered to them mattered to God.
We too can cry to the Lord in our distress (in our storms), if only with the imperfect faith of the disciples. It may not be a rescue in the way we imagine it and, like Job, we may have to ride out the storm.
Look at our lives during times of trouble and discord or loss. It is at these times we come to appreciate the people who are there to offer comfort, support, and help. We learn who our true friends are.
This is true in our spiritual lives as well, if we have faith, and believe Christ is with us, ready to command the seas to be calm and the winds to be still. In fact, we might ask ourselves what our faith in God would look like if we never had to live through storms.
The second reading appears to have little in common with the rest, but “the conviction that one died for all” touches every aspect and moment of our lives, whether peaceful or stormy, for “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation.”
La Salette helps bring that truth home as well.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.