12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
June 20, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









Grant, O Lord,
that we may always revere and love your holy name,
for you never deprive of your guidance
those you set firm on the foundation of your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Jb 38:1,8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
    Who shut within doors the sea,
        when it burst forth from the womb;
    when I made the clouds its garment
        and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
    When I set limits for it
        and fastened the bar of its door,
    and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,
        and here shall your proud waves be stilled!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 107:23-24,25-26,28-29,30-31

R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.

They who sailed the sea in ships,
    trading on the deep waters,
These saw the works of the LORD
    and his wonders in the abyss.

His command raised up a storm wind
    which tossed its waves on high.
They mounted up to heaven; they sank to the depths;
    their hearts melted away in their plight.

They cried to the LORD in their distress;
    from their straits he rescued them,
He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze,
    and the billows of the sea were stilled.

They rejoiced that they were calmed,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his kindness
    and his wondrous deeds to the children of men.

Second Reading 2 Cor 5:14-17

Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.


Gospel  Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

Reflection Questions

  1. Have you ever been addressed “out of the storm?”
  2. How does the love of Christ impel you?
  3. Have you been terrified?  What role did faith play?

Catena Nova

The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence (St. John Chrysostom).

This sleep of Christ has a symbolic meaning. The boat's crew are human souls sailing across the sea of this world in a wooden vessel. That vessel, of course, also represents the Church; but as each one of us is a temple of God, each one's heart is a sailing boat, nor can it be wrecked so long as we fill our minds only with what is good. When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind; when your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune—shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him....Now all is calm again. Christ has rebuked the sea. What I have said about anger must be your rule of conduct in every temptation. A temptation arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the moment to awaken Christ and let him remind you of those words: “Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him.” Who is this whom the sea obeys? It is he to whom the sea belongs, for he made it; all things were made through him. Try, then, to be more like the wind and the sea; obey the God who made you. The sea obeys Christ's command, and are you going to turn a deaf ear to it? The sea obeys him, the wind is still; will you persist with your blustering? Words, actions, schemes, what are all these but a constant buffing and puffing, a refusal to be still at Christ's command? When your heart is in this troubled state, do not let the waves overwhelm you. If, since we are only human, the driving wind should stir up in us a tumult of emotions, let us not despair but awaken Christ, so that we may sail in quiet waters, and at last reach our heavenly homeland (St. Augustine of Hippo).

We shall steer safely through every storm so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God (St. Francis de Sales). 

Steer your ship with steady arm, Trust Me and rest your soul. Your little boat I’ll keep from harm, I’ll guide it toward its goal. … Be therefore, steadfast, calm and true, Your God is at your side. Through storm and night He’ll see you through With conscience as your guide (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross/Edith Stein).

In his infinite love, God is always close to those who are suffering. Depressive illness can be a way to discover other aspects of oneself and new forms of encounter with God. Christ listens to the cry of those whose boat is rocked by the storm (cf. Mk 4: 35-41). He is present beside them to help them in the crossing and guide them to the harbour of rediscovered peace (Pope St. John Paul II).

Storms are scary but we have to face the question of whether or not we are even more scared of God’s peace, the vindication from God that Job longed for. Storms are chaotic, but social change that brings people at enmity together feels more chaotic and is scarier still. Why else should there be so much talk about walls at our borders? Note that the boat carrying Jesus and his disciples was heading from Jewish territory to Gentile territory. Was the whole idea of bringing peace across the dividing sea more frightening than the storm? Paul’s confidence in rejoicing in the midst of sorrow and possessing everything in dispossession is scary too. What a way to calm human storms! For Paul, God has not calmed the human storm that brought him persecution; God has calmed Paul himself in the midst of the storm, a powerful indication that God cared for him and for all others still caught in the storm. The image of Jesus sleeping through the storm at sea indicates that Jesus, too, had this calm in the midst of the storm. But Jesus did not calm the human storm that nailed him to the cross at Calvary, and Jesus himself cried out with fear that he had been forsaken. As soon as this storm started to break at Gethsemane, the disciples fled. When the women came to the tomb where a young man dressed in white told them that Jesus was going before them to Galilee, they were even more frightened by the calm after the storm and they fled. Are we willing to follow Jesus in the way that leads us, with Paul, into the teeth of the storm with rejoicing and hope for social change that does not require others to be dispossessed, or do we fear more the calm after the storm where we confront the God who cares about those we don’t care about and also those we fear and hate? (Abbot Andrew Marr)

The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity. In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters....We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we founder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies (Pope Francis).


             Have you heard of Thomas Mann’s novel Death in Venice?  Well, I was almost in it.  I was coming home from a meeting in Rome.  And we had a stopover in Venice.  It was a jumbo jet, jammed with hundreds of people.  The plane took off normally.  We were gaining altitude over the Adriatic when, suddenly, a thud came from one of the engines.  A minute later the flight attendant told us to look out the window to see something “interesting”: the pilot was dumping fuel! Then a voice from the cockpit told us to be calm: we had to return to the airport.  So I grabbed my rosary beads--calmly, of course!  And we landed without incident.

            Once on the ground, we learned a flock of seagulls had smashed into one of the plane’s engines, setting it on fire and shutting it down.  We came very close to crashing.  Then began a process of transport­ing all these people by boat in the middle of the night to hotels, where we were lodged for three days without our luggage, while Air Canada found a way to get us all home.  You might say it was a “gulling” experience.

            Just like those poor apostles in that boat about to sink into the Sea of Galilee.  Can’t you see the captain, Peter, dumping water?  And the bunch of them thinking what a fine way for Jesus’ followers to end their career.  Here they’d given their all in the Lord’s service.  No time even to eat or sleep because of the crowds and, just when they needed him most, where was he?  In the stern, asleep on a cushion (G).

            Strange, isn’t it?  How often God seems to be napping while our ship is sinking.  Remember poor Job?  Now there was a decent guy, a servant of God, a real success story.  He thought his good fortune a reward for right living.  Then one day his luck changed.  Just like that, he lost health and wealth, family and friends -- everything he ever worked for.

            He lost his proverbial patience too.  But just as Job was about to curse God and die, the Lord spoke to him. How? Out of the storm (I).  And what did the Lord say to Job?  Something like this: “You know, Job, I’ve been around a long time.  See all this stuff?  The heavens and the earth, the sea and the sky, and all they contain?  I made them.  And I made them without you, or your advice.  So don’t tell me how to run the world.  ‘Cause I’m pretty good at making plans, and having them work out, in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.”

            You see, Job got a little too confident about his life.  He thought he had life all figured out.  He got into a frame of mind that says: “What a life!  I’m sitting pretty.  The American dream’s almost in reach.  I even go to church.  That must have something to do with it.  So what could go wrong?” 

            It’s easy to think we’re untouchable, isn’t it?  Our technology and prosperity, our national security and military prowess, all make us think we’ve got the world by the tail.  In the words of Pope Francis speaking of the storm wrought by the pandemic:

The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity. In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away.          

            Oh yes, despite our vaunted technology, a microscopic virus brought the world to a standstill, as if it were a seagull able to bring a jet plane down.  This past week, despite the apparent end of the Cold War decades ago, a murderous thug holds sway over Russia and threats unimagined when the Soviet Union fell threaten us anew.  And despite Juneteenth being made a federal holiday in the Unites States, craven politicians across the country are working hard to make voting more difficult, especially for people of color. While, despite our confidence in democracy and its institutions, we are daily shaken by new revelations of attempts to subvert it. 

            It’s in moments like these, when storms arise when we least expect, we need reminding who really saves us.  As the apostles did the night a violent squall (G) swept the Sea of Galilee; as I did the night seagulls almost made ashes of me; as you do whenever life throws you a sudden curve.  When God seems asleep at the stern and, even should God awake, it may only be to speak from the center of the storm.

            Not that such storms are meant to punish us.  That’s what Job’s friends thought they were meant to do.  They were convinced Job had sinned, and that’s why misfortune befell him.  But they had it all wrong.  Rather, such storms are meant to remind us how fragile and weak, how needy and reliant, we truly are-- despite our pretensions to the contrary.  And they are meant, above all, to increase our faith in him whom even wind and sea obey (G).

            For God speaks a truth from such storms we often don’t hear when the weather is calm.  A truth even we, who no longer know Christ according to the flesh (II), sometimes forget.  And that truth is this: In God alone lies our salvation; God alone rescues us from all our straits, and brings us to our desired haven.  For such storms convince us to live no longer for [ourselves] but for him who for our sake died and was raised (II): the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.



Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli; Prayers for Sundays and Seasons)

Let us offer our prayers on behalf of all to the God whose mighty power earth and heaven obey.

That Christians who have grown fearful or discouraged may have faith in the Teacher who will not permit us to perish.

That nations battered by the raging storms of violent conflict may come one day to rejoice again in the calm of peace.

That those whose livelihood depends on the sea may prosper in their labors and be preserved from danger.

That vacationers may see God’s handiwork in the splendor of wind and sea, and be renewed in spirit by their time of recreation.

That those who question God’s presence or purpose in their lives may find in us a loving support and in God’s love an ultimate answer.

That we who are blest to have Jesus present in our midst may be filled with awe for our Teacher and love for each other.

That those who have crossed with Jesus from this life to the other side may become a new creation in Christ for all eternity.

In the beginning, O God, your Word subdued the chaos; in the fullness of time you sent Jesus, your Son, to rebuke the forces of evil and bring forth a new creation. By that same power,  transform all our fear into faith and awe in your saving presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen (ICEL; 1998),



The Lord, who made the mighty waves

And gave the sea its bounds

Permitting it to come “so far”

While stilling wind’s fierce sounds—

This Lord, our Christ, was with His friends

When waves o’ertook their ship;

He woke and told the sea, “Be still!”

Which loosed the storm’s fierce grip.

The love of Christ impels us on

To live, not for ourself,

But for the sake of Him who died:

This newness is our wealth.

Lord’s Prayer

With faith in God’ enduring providence, we pray as Jesus taught us...

Spiritual Communion

O Lord Jesus Christ, my God and my Savior, these are the noble, comforting words in which You Yourself witness to us the truth, that Your body and Your blood, which were given and shed for us, are truly here. I believe, O Lord, that Your words are truth and that heaven and earth must pass away before Your words would be false. O Lord God, preserve, increase, and strengthen in me faith, love and devotion toward You in this Sacrament, for in the form of bread and wine Your holy body and Your precious blood are present—the body which You gave into death for me; the blood which You shed for the forgiveness of my sins. You offer this body and blood to me, a poor sinner, out of love and grace as a true food, as a true drink of my soul, whereby it most certainly obtains forgiveness of all sins, unification with You, and incorporation into Your spiritual body and the communion of all saints; strength, comfort, and help in all temptation of the enemy; confirmation in love, in faith, and in hope; also preparation for the long road to an unknown land which stands before me. O Lord, You have known well that I am a poor sinner; but still You have esteemed me so highly in this Your last testament. Therefore I come, full of trust and desire, and because I cannot receive it today with my mouth, let me receive its sweet fruit spiritually into my soul. I beseech You, my God and Savior, that You would not shut me out of Your Supper, but according to Your merciful promise (cf. John 6), You would feed me now with Your holy body and would give me to drink of Your blood, so that I may receive You spiritually into my soul and all my sins may be forgiven me; and so that a living faith, love, and hope be raised up, strengthened and confirmed: so that You only may reign in me mightily, and I may remain steadfast in You with my whole mind and heart. I want also, my God and Lord, to believe fully in Your holy words without doubt. And because You are present to forgive sins, and I appear before You poor and hungry for Your mercy, You will give me, and I shall receive: no one can prevent this—the fruit of the Sacrament ought and shall be accomplished in me. For this be praise and glory unto You forever and ever. Amen.

From a prayer: “Spiritual Eating of the Sacrament”; in Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians by Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe. Emmanuel Press, 2010:59-60.



Closing Hymn (Robert Wadsworth Lowry)  


My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
And friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?