Thursday, July 2, 2015

Homily (2) 12th sunday of Ordinary Season Year B: Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily (2) for 12th Sunday of Ordinary Season Year B:Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
Readings: Job 38:1, 8-11; Ps 107:23-31; 2 cor 5:14-17 and Mark 4:35-41
 Jesus Calms the Proud Waves of Our Lives
 In the readings of today we are all invited to remain focus on Jesus, the Son of David, God’s incarnate  since he  alone  can recreate us, the multitude, calm the sea, the waves and the various storms  of our lives. These storms, could be natural,  material, biological, emotional, economical, socio-political and spiritual, yet, related, depending on where God has placed us in life.
In the Gospel reading of today, we meet the Markan Jesus who calms the waves and storms that arose in the sea of Galillee when he was travelling pastorally with his disciples. Because of the violent and threatening nature of this meditarenean storm the disciple thought they were perishing. They were afraid. They were emotionally and psychologically shaken. Their boat and material possessions were at risk, but not for their recognition of the teacher of calmness. They woke Christ up, and said, “teacher do you not care, we are perishing.” Of course, Jesus, the teacher of calmness, woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still.” Instantly, there was a great calm to the amazement the disciples of this Son of God.
With God everything is possible; every endurance is worth pursing and every courage is worth taking! (This reminds me of our ongoing 2015 archaeological expedition and pilgrimage in the Holy land. As we journey through the old city of David, the temple mount, Hezekiah’s tunnel, masada, engedi, the Qumran community, Dead Sea,  Bethlehem, Caesarea Philippi,  Shepherd fields, Nazareth, Jezreel valley, Galilee-Capernaum, Tabga, Mount of  Beatitude, etc, courage and focus on the Lord are needed to bear the challenges  and sacrifices associated with pilgrimages and a dig in the desert area, of Bethsaida.
 In the case of Job, familiar to us,  repeated in the first reading, it was, faith, hope, steadfastness and endurance that saw him through his personal storms and  proud waves. He lost everything, wife, children and his animals. He was cajoled and mocked by friends!  Because,  of his personal trust and love for God, he lived to experience the calmness, and the stillness of his ill-fortunes as the disciples of Christ would in the storming sea of Galillee!
Equally, Saint Paul throughout his  missionary journeys was not immuned from sufferings, ship-wrecking, waves and storms of all forms. He faced multiple trials, hardship and imprisonment. Like the disciples of Christ he recognized the master. One thing, he emphasized, as evident in the second reading, 2 Cor 5:14-17, was the love of Christ, the focus on Christ. Paul says, “the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died…whoever is in Christ is a new creation.”
The proud storms that face us today  are not limited to poverty, illness, medical issues, family crises,  high rate of divorces, neglect of parental responsibilities( father’s day in the United States), racism, discrimination and ignorance. It include lack of faith,  hope, love and greediness to dominate others. Threats of war, terrorism and religious extremism are some of them. Corruption and abuse of public offices of nations and communities,  have also replaced a sense of social justice, authentic leadership and thoughts for the common good! Some worship centers today, and unfortunately have been converted to a political theatre instead of a sanctuary to encounter God, in our neighbors, whose Son quieted the waves of the sea of Galilee.
Whatever form our proud waves of life may take Jesus, God’s incarnate, Son of Mary and Joseph is the answer!