Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
We are all familiar with the hobby of storm chasing. Or maybe it’s better to call it an obsession. Storm chasers are the people who grab their video cameras and drive around trying to find a storm and capture it, somehow, on film, for others to see. What is it about the storm that intrigues them? The popularity of this hobby testifies to something of value being hidden in every storm. Most of us tend to shield ourselves from storms. We are often just too busy to be bothered, and our modern houses and modern buildings offer us more protection and isolation from violent storms than ever, and yet, there is something that remains intriguing to us about the storm. What is it? Use your imagination for a moment, and try to remember a time when you were caught in a storm. Remember the way the air changed. The smell, too. Can you remember the noise of the wind, or of the trees being shaken? Can you remember being frightened by thunder and lightning, maybe as a child?
The fact is: God spoke to Job from out of the storm, according to the first reading, and Jesus, in the gospel, accompanied his disciples into the heart of the storm. The storm is a place of divine encounter. For Job, it is an experience of his own littleness and inadequacy before the greatness of the God who controls even the sea itself. It is a God who is far above him in power, and yet, mysteriously near him in the storm. For the disciples, it was the experience of a God-Man who was apparently unaffected by the storm’s violence, because he was sleeping. But this God-Man Christ intervenes, supernaturally, in the normal course of affairs, quieting the storm that threatens the boat of his disciples. In this manifestation of supernatural power, the mystery of God’s nearness to humanity becomes even more amazing than the most violent of storms. Let us join with the disciples, and respond with holy awe.