Tuesday, October 6, 2009

12 Sunday of Ordinary Time

I preached this Homily during Father's day which happened to be the day our youth took to their summer work camp. The reading comes from Mt 4:24-31.
I would like to congratulate all the Fathers here with us today. May you have a most blessed day with your loved ones… I’m a Dad too, so you will understand me when I say… enjoy Fathers day…we are all in this together… Now… today’s Gospel reminded me of my childhood… now I have to give you a bit of background, so you know what I’m talking about. Having lived in the Caribbean the first part of my life, I learned as a child that storms… Especially big tropical storms like Hurricanes could be very scary.
I remember one time I heard on the news that people in the coast of Louisiana and Texas like to hold hurricanes parties, and I could not for the life of me figure why? Imagine yourself locked up in your house for 8 to 12 hours with an angry animal trying to get into your home, and you will have an idea of what I’m talking about. Hurricanes winds can reach speeds way above 100 miles an hour. So believe it or not, rain falls horizontally, so when you are locked in your home in the middle of a cyclone it is as if someone is trying to break into your house, using a fire hose full blast to break open the doors and the windows. The sound of the howling wind will not let you sleep. There is not communication. The phones do not work. There is no power. If it is night and you do not have candles or flash light you are in complete darkness… except for the lightning of thunder. The pressure changes so very fast under these conditions that unsecured doors, like closets and cabinets, open or slam without warning.
As I was reflecting on today’s Gospel I kept remembering those days and how, me and my sister experienced some of this. But the fact is… I cannot remember a time in which we were scared. As a child in our little 3 room, one story house, even in the worst of storms, we always felt quite safe. It really did not matter how scary the wind and the rain in the outside were, in our home, with our parents there next to us, we always felt at peace.
Now, today’s reading has been used to show how Jesus had command not only of demons and sickness but of the elements themselves. The wind and the sea are symbols of the cosmic forces that are always trying to destroy our fragile human existence, and Jesus calming of the seas and storms are a proof to us that he is in-fact the son of God and the master of all creation. But I like to give to this reading another interpretation… I like to think that perhaps, it is not that the wind and the waves stopped at Jesus command, but that when Jesus was with the apostles, things that seemed terrifying like the wind and waves, the lightning and the thunder, did not look as scary as they once did. Like my sister and me, who felt secure in our little home in the middle of a raging hurricane in the darkness, the presence of Jesus had a quiet and peaceful effect on the apostles.
My brothers and sisters, this is a lesson we should apply in our lives. Of course here in Maryland we might never experience the full brunt of a hurricane like the ones in my childhood, but in our lives we all experience other types of storms. We cannot deny that sometimes our souls are in great turmoil. Scary things happen to us at times. A sudden sickness , the loss of a job, the loss of a love one, an unexpected accident, the betrayal of a friend, the separation that sometimes happens in a family, either because of divorce, school, vacation, even a situation like today in which we are sending our young people to their annual work camp. I’m sure Ted and his crew will take good care of them, but I’m willing to bet there is more than one parent here, that is having a tough time dealing with being away from their child a whole week. All these things could be scary; some of them can even throw us into the middle of a raging storm of fear and uncertainty. Life can make us as scared and confused as the apostles that night in the middle of the lake in Galilee. These are the moments to call upon Jesus to be with us, so that His presence gives us courage to deal with all of our fears. Our problems might not go away, the situation might stay the same, but like the wind and the waves that night for the apostles; they will not scare us anymore. It does not matter how big our troubles are, in the presence of Jesus we will always encounter the peace and the great stillness that we all crave for.
Now I will like to end today by specifically talking to Dads (and moms too) I want you to remember something very important: when your children are scared, they will look up to you for comfort. If you do not have peace yourself; how can you give that which you do not have? Always call upon Jesus to help you when you are dealing with your own fears and the fears of others. Always trust in him and you too will experience the peace and stillness his presence brings in the middle of raging storms. Happy father’s day…