Father Koch: If we persist in our pleas, Jesus will calm the storms

June 21, 2024 at 8:15 a.m.
Photo from Freepik.com
Photo from Freepik.com


Gospel reflection for June 23, 2024, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In 1986 a first century fishing boat was discovered off the coast of Lake Tiberius. At 27 feet long 7.5 wide with a draft of 4.3 feet, a boat like this would certainly be in a perilous situation when a storm popped up on the lake. Although experienced, the disciples could not maintain their bearings and were taking on water. Jesus was roused from his sleep, not by the storm, but by the plea of the disciples.

This was indeed a tumultuous and terrifying experience for the disciples. Not only were they fearful for their own lives, and those of their families, but they must have had great concern as well for their passenger. They have been with Jesus for some time by now and have seen the great and mighty works which he has performed for others. They are coming to believe that he is the Messiah, the one who will bring restoration to the people and save them from the yoke of their oppression.

At the same time, the passenger, Jesus, is sleeping and seems to be unaware and not concerned at all about what is going on around him.

Thai brings about a flood of emotions. Besides the natural fear from their present danger, their anger/disappointment/shock at the reaction -- or non-reaction -- of Jesus added to their angst at this moment.

When they aroused Jesus from his sleep, he immediately calmed the storm and settled things down for them, alleviating the terror which had overcome them. The words of Jesus when rebuking the storm are reflective of the words he uses when he performs an exorcism: “Quiet! Be still!”

In doing this, Jesus not only calms the storm, he releases the power of evil from their lives. They are overcome by fear and anger. These emotions not only block them from being able to act clearly in order to effectively handle the storm and save themselves and the boat, but in their frustration with Jesus and his silence, are thinking ill of him as well.

Jesus, then, challenges his disciples. Not only does he question their fear he takes it another step by questioning their faith. Yet it appears that the disciples were oblivious to either challenge as they are more in awe of what he has accomplished -- the calming of the storm -- and they are now focused on who he is, rather than on what they need to have learned from this experience.

They will again be afraid. They will again have doubts. They will again question who Jesus is.

This stands as an example for us on our own journey of faith and life.

Sometimes we can feel like we are stuck in a small dinghy in the midst of a violent storm with Jesus asleep, seeming not to care what is happening to us. We need to persevere to get his attention, trusting that he has power over the storm.

Yet, we know that this is not easy. The various tempests and disturbances that rage through our lives can cause us great fear. Confronted with a life-threatening diagnosis, or in the midst of a powerful natural disaster, or perhaps a tragic accident, we cower in fear, and are overcome with great anxiety.

We live in ordinary fears as well. Many are fearful of the future. International conflicts are coming closer to home; the stability of the economy is a constant question; the coming elections present great uncertainty. Too often, though, these fears are so consuming that we are lost in them.

It takes much faith that the course of our lives and the progress of history are in the hands of God who ultimately intends our goodness and our salvation.

The power of sin in the world does not overcome the grace and power of God at work in the world.

We need to be persistent in prayer -- not so much to get what we want, but so that our fears are alleviated as we grow in the constancy of faith, recognizing God’s goodness and love for us.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.


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Gospel reflection for June 23, 2024, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In 1986 a first century fishing boat was discovered off the coast of Lake Tiberius. At 27 feet long 7.5 wide with a draft of 4.3 feet, a boat like this would certainly be in a perilous situation when a storm popped up on the lake. Although experienced, the disciples could not maintain their bearings and were taking on water. Jesus was roused from his sleep, not by the storm, but by the plea of the disciples.

This was indeed a tumultuous and terrifying experience for the disciples. Not only were they fearful for their own lives, and those of their families, but they must have had great concern as well for their passenger. They have been with Jesus for some time by now and have seen the great and mighty works which he has performed for others. They are coming to believe that he is the Messiah, the one who will bring restoration to the people and save them from the yoke of their oppression.

At the same time, the passenger, Jesus, is sleeping and seems to be unaware and not concerned at all about what is going on around him.

Thai brings about a flood of emotions. Besides the natural fear from their present danger, their anger/disappointment/shock at the reaction -- or non-reaction -- of Jesus added to their angst at this moment.

When they aroused Jesus from his sleep, he immediately calmed the storm and settled things down for them, alleviating the terror which had overcome them. The words of Jesus when rebuking the storm are reflective of the words he uses when he performs an exorcism: “Quiet! Be still!”

In doing this, Jesus not only calms the storm, he releases the power of evil from their lives. They are overcome by fear and anger. These emotions not only block them from being able to act clearly in order to effectively handle the storm and save themselves and the boat, but in their frustration with Jesus and his silence, are thinking ill of him as well.

Jesus, then, challenges his disciples. Not only does he question their fear he takes it another step by questioning their faith. Yet it appears that the disciples were oblivious to either challenge as they are more in awe of what he has accomplished -- the calming of the storm -- and they are now focused on who he is, rather than on what they need to have learned from this experience.

They will again be afraid. They will again have doubts. They will again question who Jesus is.

This stands as an example for us on our own journey of faith and life.

Sometimes we can feel like we are stuck in a small dinghy in the midst of a violent storm with Jesus asleep, seeming not to care what is happening to us. We need to persevere to get his attention, trusting that he has power over the storm.

Yet, we know that this is not easy. The various tempests and disturbances that rage through our lives can cause us great fear. Confronted with a life-threatening diagnosis, or in the midst of a powerful natural disaster, or perhaps a tragic accident, we cower in fear, and are overcome with great anxiety.

We live in ordinary fears as well. Many are fearful of the future. International conflicts are coming closer to home; the stability of the economy is a constant question; the coming elections present great uncertainty. Too often, though, these fears are so consuming that we are lost in them.

It takes much faith that the course of our lives and the progress of history are in the hands of God who ultimately intends our goodness and our salvation.

The power of sin in the world does not overcome the grace and power of God at work in the world.

We need to be persistent in prayer -- not so much to get what we want, but so that our fears are alleviated as we grow in the constancy of faith, recognizing God’s goodness and love for us.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.

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