Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
June 20, 2021 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Job 38:1;8-11 | Psalm 106:23-26;28-31
II Corinthians 5:14-17 | Mark 4:35-41
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
“Do you not yet have faith?”
Jesus’ question to his disciples in today’s Gospel encompasses the focus of our liturgies throughout the remainder of the year, which the Church refers to as “Ordinary Time”.
Today we begin our journey with Jesus and His disciples by reliving their time spent together and learning from Jesus about His words and His deeds. Through this journey, we strengthen our knowledge and belief in Jesus.
I’ll begin today by telling you a story about a man with hope and faith during a time of emergency.
There once was a man who lived in a two-story house. The house was near a river and unfortunately, the river began to flood.
As the river rose, warnings were given via radio, TV, and shortwave. Large jeeps drove through the area to evacuate people. As a jeep drove by the man’s house, he was told:
“You are in danger! Your life is at stake! You must evacuate immediately! Get in the jeep and let us help you evacuate.”
“No!” the man replied from his doorstep. “I have faith! I will be okay. The flood won’t get me. God will take care of me.”
The water continued to rise. Soon the man was on the second floor. A boat was going through the area and arrived at the man’s house. Rescuers made every effort to convince the man to take action so that his life would be saved.
“You are in great danger! Your life is at stake. You will drown in the flood.”
“No worries.” says the man. “I have faith. Everything is okay. Even though the flood is rising, I will be fine. God will take care of me.”
The flood water continued to rise.
The man then went to the roof to avoid the rising water. A helicopter pilot sees him on top of the roof and hovers above the man. Using a megaphone, the pilot tries to convince the man to grab the rope ladder which was dangling above his head.
“You are in danger! The flood is still rising. You will drown if you do not grab the rope ladder. Let us help you!”
“No worries.: says the man. “I will be fine. Yes, the flood is higher, but I have faith. God will take care of me.”
The floodwater rises. The man drowns.
At the pearly gates, the man says to God: “I had faith. You let me die!”
To which God replies: “I sent you a jeep, a boat, and a helicopter. What more could I have done for you?”
Now, obviously, this isn’t a true story, but it emphasizes the idea that too many people rely on hope and wait much too long for “the answer”. We can use this story as a simile to all of the people today who refuse to be vaccinated for Covid-19 due to their unrealistic belief and “faith”.
God wants to be our partner as we grow in our journey of faith, but we need to meet Him halfway by using the tools He provides for us, such as vaccinations or rescue assistance. When we’ve used everything that God has sent us or given to us, and when we pray for God’s help, we’ll be amazed at how God helps those who help themselves. According to Fr. David, unlike the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, God created humanity with a rational soul: the ability to think.
In deciding whether or not to take the Covid-19 vaccine, the Bible teaches us that the sacredness of life and the importance of stewarding such life is one of our primary missions. Jesus teaches us in the Scriptures about the importance of the pursuit of knowledge. God has given us doctors and scientists in order to reign in illness and disease, and God forbids the destruction of human life. The Holy Spirit teaches us about the sanctity of human life and the importance of protecting it as our duty to God, to the community, and to ourselves.
Vaccines are one of the ways God has allowed us to fulfill this sacred duty to ourselves and the most vulnerable among us. Science involves the quest to gain knowledge for a particular use. And God intends for us to act responsibly in applying research and knowledge.
Many scientists, such as George Washington Carver, Issac Newton, Florence Nightengale, and Gregor Mendel acknowledged their faith in God as being instrumental in achieving excellence in their work. Gregor Mendel, the founder of modern genetics, for example, was a priest!
The development of vaccines in the last two centuries is an example of how God has allowed us to preserve life with His blessings.
Today, both the first reading from Job, and the Gospel from Mark remind us that God is the creator of the world and as such, He has the ultimate power to control all the natural, physical, and spiritual forces in the world.
When God addresses Job during the storm, it shows that God is ready to intervene in our lives when necessary. God describes the stormy sea as a newborn child with God as the midwife. God fulfills Job’s greatest need by showing Job that He had not abandoned him and still cared for him.
The Book of Job stresses the importance of creation as a source of revelation which is distinct from that of the Law. Job is a celebration of the belief that existence is brought about by a benevolent and all-knowing God and not by chaos. It shows a filial relationship between the Creator and the created. Creation is an important theme to Job as it provides him with a source of relationship with God.
In our second reading today from Second Corinthians, Paul explains how our being united with Jesus changes our lives. We become a new creation with our new purpose and mission. At St. Cecilia’s, we aim to share the good news about Jesus while creating a loving place where we all can do His work. When God intervenes in our lives, He does so out of love for us and the world.
Life is full of storms such as the Covid-19 pandemic, from which we are finally emerging. At times like these, fears and complaints can take center stage in our lives. Even in some situations, we can lose our faith in God, believing He has abandoned us.
In all actuality, the truth is that we have no assurance that our lives will be completely free of storms, but the good news is that Jesus is always there to help us in times of need or distress.
We must always remember that Jesus is always with us and is aware of all the storms we battle. And we also must remember that we cannot battle our storms alone; Jesus wants to intervene on our behalf. In Psalm 50, verse 15, God tells us: “Call upon me in times of trouble and I will help you.”
It is through our faith that we believe God created us in love and that He will save us through His mercy.
So, let us “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love and mercy endures forever.”