June 21, 2015 • Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When I was twelve years old I was on a daylong fishing trip off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts with my father, uncle, and a few cousins. The day started out a calm one, with small swells gently lapping the side of our sixteen-foot boat. However, by mid-afternoon a small-craft warning had been issued. This meant that boats the size of ours hold attempt to make it to land as soon as possible. We were approximately seven miles from the harbor. Surging through the waves at first was lots of fun as the water playfully sprayed us. Then through the salt spray we noticed a huge oil tanker cutting across the waters ahead of us. My uncle, who piloted the boat, warned us that when the wake created by that tanker hit us, it would be rough going. I remember putting my head down at that point. I began frantically saying many Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers.


That fishing trip ended happily. We made it safely over the waves created by the wake of the oil tanker. But that was the day I learned to respect the ocean and to appreciate its destructive power. One can only imagine the disciples, most of whom were experienced fishermen, being tossed about in that boat with the Lord, who was askeep on a cushion. Thses were men who knew the ferocity of the seas. In the last few years we have all seen the destruction caused by tsunamis and hurricanes. An onslaught of water is one of the most frightening things that humans can experience. It is within this context of terrible fright, testing the faith of the disciples, that the Lord calms the seas. We all have “stormy seas” moments when we experience fear. Let us not be afraid to run to the Lord Jesus in faith, asking that he be with us, giving us healing and comfort.