Hi everyone, and welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We are part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and you're listening to Season 4, Episode 22 for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary time. : June 20, 2021. Our Gospel reading is from Mark, Chapter 4, verses 35-31 .
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?”
The Gospel of the Lord
“Trust the Silence." by Father Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut
At this juncture in our lives, all of us have been exposed to some form of technology. Maybe it's the computer we use at work; the one we have at home, a tablet, a phone, whatever it may be. And the device helps us not only conduct the business of our lives, but keeps us connected with one another and the bigger world. We all know that when they work, they work, and when they don't, they don't.
And when they don't, life has a way of stopping and we can easily find ourselves frustrated when, what we're, depending upon isn't doing what we want it to do or what it did just a short time ago. Sometimes these glitches are an easy fix if we know our way through the device, but if you're older, like me and this is all foreign territory, we have to seek out somebody who's younger and smarter who can tell me what button I pushed that I shouldn't have pushed and get me back where I need to be.
However, sometimes the problem isn't with the user so, but is with the device itself. And because our computer technology is something that human beings have created, we've designed this and fashioned it and put it together; we have IT people that we can take these devices to, to see if they can be repaired and fixed.
We would not think of ourselves without having that kind of knowledge of opening it up and seeing if we could do this on our own. I think most of us who pale with that knowledge would not attempt such an endeavor. However, because it is a human made concept, we can seek a human solution.
However, when it comes to our lives, where do we look? When life becomes chaotic, when things get turned upside down, we find ourselves frustrated, off center, off kilter, detached, somewhat fragile. We find ourselves facing consequences that are difficult and the boat of our lives is on a very traumatic ocean. Where do we turn?
It's not to ourselves that we are to find the answer, because who made this world in which we did? God did. Who made us? God did.
And in faith we believe that about ourselves and the world in which we live. It wasn't any one of us or any human being that designed the world. It wasn't any one human being in the course of history that decided to create other lives. The only one who has a knowledge of our human operating system is God.
And so as we look to ourselves, sometimes we take on this added burden that we have to fix things ourselves. That somehow, when things are unsettled, when things are out of whack, that it's maybe something that we did, or something that's being done to us. And so we can't often see the bigger picture of our life's journey. And as we consider all that is human and all that is in our world, we have to admit standing in front of it all, that a lot of it is incomprehensible to us. We can only see segments of our lives. We are living in time and space. We don't know the full expanse of who we are, of who we are really destined to become, and where it will all end.
We do not know the number of our days here on earth and what awaits us in eternity to come. Only God has that knowledge. And then it is, therefore, to God that we must turn and look when life gets challenging.
However, in doing so we have to be careful with how we look to God. As people of faith, we need to realize that we are not alone in the chaos of our lives. God doesn't just visit us when things are good, but he journeys with us when things are challenging and difficult. But we make the mistake of thinking that God is out there.
And so when life becomes a challenge, when life becomes hurtful, when life becomes difficult, we turn to God for a solution to that pain. We turn to God for the calming of the seas, so that the boat of our lives can be more stable and peace-filled. And so in looking for God, we tend to believe that we still have the answer to what needs to happen. And so our prayer reflects something like this: God, I need you to do X, Y, and Z, because life is very difficult right now. I need you to do these particular things for me to settle the waters a bit so that I can get where I want to go, where I think I need to be, and so on and so forth. We forget too, that God is not out there, but in here and very much a part of that process.
And so as we bring those intentions to God and we storm heaven with our pleas, we can find ourselves very much like the disciples in today's Gospel, saying of God and asking of God, "Are you not attentive to where I'm at here? Are you not listening to what's going on in my life? I'm faithful. I consider myself, your friend, I miserable and suffering. Life is out of joint and you're not doing anything about it. Why?"
And the response comes back: silence. Is God absent? Does He not care? Is He asleep? Why aren't things calming down? I say my prayers. I'm faithful and nothing Is happening.
And so at that juncture of our lives, we're at a crossroads, and it's a crossroads that can either lead us closer to God, or turn us away from God. Because a lot of people, not receiving the response that they feel they deserve from God, walk away. And they conclude that either God doesn't care, or God just simply is not. And so they go on with the business of their lives, trying to carve out some measure of happiness for themselves.
But God is a part of the process. And it may be the case that in trying to bring us to that new place in our life, being creative, being a part of who we are and who we're becoming that what God is saying to us is stay where you are. Stay in the darkness a bit. Stay in the “unsettleness” a bit. Stay with the anxiety. Listen. Trust. Learn. Grow. If we calm down our fears and we bring the temperature of our lives down a bit, we can develop a deep, patient waiting and then become attentive to other things rather than the agenda that we want for ourselves. And maybe we were going to see things in a different way. Discover gifts that we didn't know we had before. Be brought into adventures that we never knew we would ever encounter, and trust and know that God is bringing us where we need to be. God is not asleep. God is not inattentive. God is always creating and recreating life: our lives, your life.
Saint Teresa of Avila always has some wonderful words of wisdom, and she has some to share about this very thing. The first is may today, peace be within you. May today, peace be within you. The second, may you trust that you are exactly where you need to be. May you trust that you are exactly where you need to be. And third, may you know and find comfort and be content in the fact that you are a child of God. May you be content knowing that you are a child. May peace be within you today. We all have the ability to feel peace right now, even in the midst of chaos and sadness and doubt and fears. We have the ability to put all that aside and feel peace. It is within our grasp because God is here. God is not out here. He's here, and very much a part of our lives and our journeys. And we all want to be at peace. And so if we stop trying to control our lives so much, and be frustrated at what we don't have and realize what we do, peace can be ours.
If we take that leap of trust, knowing that where we are is where we need to be, not where I want to be, where I thought I should be, where I really am being asked to be. No, where I am is where I need to be. That in this moment, in the brokenness, in the anxiety and the uncertainty in the incompleteness,God is working.
And it's believing this which is really what faith is all about: trusting and knowing that even in the difficulty, God is still working. And may we be content that where we are is where we need to be. And then the most powerful one of all is the last one: may we know that we are a child of God, and be content with that; to be content that we are a child of God.
You know any good parent, you know, they can't solve all the problems of their children. They can't make everything better all the time. But one thing that they can do more than anyone else is offer that supportive love, that supportive presence that says, "Even though I can't take your pain away, I am here with you and for you.
And that's God, too, because God may not take away all that is wrong with our lives, all that is off-kilter, all that is chaotic. He may not calm the sea in the moment when we ask Him to do that. He may not do exactly what we want God to do. But one thing is for certain, if we are content with the fact that we are a child of God, we can always flee to his open arms, thrust ourselves into his presence, and know that in our brokenness, in our anxiety, and in our pain, He wraps His arms around us in love and says to us, "I am with you. I have it covered. Trust, and don't fear.
You see, that's the wonderful gift that faith can bring us. And once we allow that faith to take root in our hearts, then it brings us to greater hope and deeper love, and allows us to journey through whatever life brings us with a greater amount of peace, which is really all that any of us really desire.
And so as we go back into our lives, lives that being incredible joys, but also challenges, know that as a Christian we are called not to find our way away from suffering, or away from that which is negative, but to hold those things in balance, the good with the evil, the grace with the sin, and any other negative or positive thing that we may encounter. It's all part of who we are and God is in it bringing us where we need to be. .
Father Mark Suslenko is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us.