Sunday Readings

Readings for Sunday 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Andrea Mardegan comments on the readings of the XII Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Andrea Mardegan-June 16, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

The evening came and Jesus preached on the shore of the lake, told several parables, then explained them to his disciples in private; he healed the sick, cast out demons.

Multitudes of people have come to him: he did not even have time to eat. He is very tired, but he does not give it importance and says to his disciples: "Let's cross to the other shore.". It is the East, inhabited by pagan people. Jesus gives himself no rest and wants to go to other towns to bring his word. The disciples dismiss the crowd and lead him away. "with them, how he was, in the boat", saving you new jobs.

Just "as he was": worn out by fatigue. Jesus, trusting in his experience as a fisherman, abandons himself, can't stand it any longer, and now that others are thinking of rowing and driving the boat, he approaches the cushion in the stern, leans over and collapses into a deep sleep. 

Pope Francis pointed out on March 27, 2020 in St. Peter's Square that this is the only time the Gospel describes Jesus sleeping. In its essentiality, apart from meals and suppers, the Gospel does not dwell so much on describing aspects of the Lord's daily life. The few that it recounts help us a lot: we perceive him closer to our lives. In the background of this narrative is the story of Jonah sleeping with a stormy sea, but the discontinuity is that here the sleeping protagonist is the same one who calms the storm with his command. God alone commands over the sea, winds and storms, as Job recalls: "Who shut the sea between two gates, when it came rushing out of its mother's womb, when I clothed it in clouds and wrapped it in a dark cloud, when I set a boundary for it?" Or, as the psalmist relates: "The storm subsided into silence, the waves of the sea fell silent. At the sight of the calm they rejoiced, and he led them to the desired harbor." (107, 28-30). 

The disciples have some faith in him and awaken him to save them, but on the basis of mistrust: "You don't care that we're lost?". Their faith is not yet full and firm, as Jesus tells them: "Do you still have no faith?". Jesus commands calm to the sea, as the devil to come out of the man in the synagogue: Mark uses the same verb (cf. Mk 1:25). It is understood that they wonder: "Who is this?". They take a step closer to the faith that Jesus really cares for them, and prepare to see him sleeping on the cross and in the tomb. There, too, they will find it hard to believe that the storm of the cross will be resolved in the calm of the resurrection. 

This episode helps us to ask the Lord to increase our faith in the power of God, which is manifested in the weakness of the humanity that the Incarnate Word wanted to take upon himself, and in that of his Church, in the storms of history.

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