Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflection on the Gospel-12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 4:35-41)
Today’s gospel story looks back to the parables in the first part of the chapter and to the crowds that heard them. The story also looks forward as it marks the beginning of the second major section of Mark’s gospel (4:35-8:21), a section that seems to be structured around a number of crossings of the lake or Sea of Galilee.
Jesus’ decision to move with his disciples out of familiar territory is deliberate: “Let us go across to the other side.” The crossing itself is difficult, as is the challenge that confronts them on the other side of the lake. From the disciples’ perspective, the seeming indifference of the sleeping Jesus is even more disturbing than the storm that threatens their safe crossing: “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus demonstrates that he does indeed care. From his perspective, the problem is with the fear in their hearts, a fear that is grounded in their lack of faith: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
In the context of this Markan story, Jesus is like the sower in the parable (4:27-28) who goes to sleep and trusts that the seed will sprout and grow and bear fruit-which it does. Within a first-century Jewish context, Jesus’ ability to “rebuke” the storm is a sign of divine power. In the Psalms, for instance, the God of Israel is the one who stills the roaring of the seas (Psalm 65:5) and controls the creatures that inhabit the waters (Psalm 89:9). Today’s first reading has insisted that God commands the sea and all of its moods. In the Book of Job, God the Birthing Mother presents Job with a series of rhetorical questions, reminding him and us that, while the sea may be threatening, it is God's new born infant, wrapped in God's swaddling clothes of darkness and cloud (Job 38). We read Mark’s little story against the backdrop of the Hebrew Scriptures. We might also read it in light of contemporary science and find within it a call to consider how our species respects or fails to respect and to nurture the fruit of God’s womb, the cosmos.
The story of the storm at sea is most certainly not an invitation to be complacent about the extreme weather events on our planet, trusting in God that all will be well. While such terrifying events can derive from the movement of tectonic plates over which we have no control, they can also derive from or be exacerbated by excessive carbon and methane emissions. We pollute the atmosphere and make the seas to rise at our peril.
Trust in God may involve relinquishing vested interests and engaging the processes that are designed to reverse the effects of the human-induced climate crisis. As nations begin to embrace more ambitious climate action, we have some reason to hope. Our hope is grounded in God who moves us to action.
Veronica Lawson RSM
The Pope's prayer intention - June 2021
Pohutukawa Coast Prayer Group
People from various churches are gathering to pray at St Mark's Anglican Church, 102 Maraetai Drive, Maraetai, Thursday mornings 7am. Open to all.
This group will meet via Zoom while present restrictions are in place.
Please contact Vivienne Gosbee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join in.
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
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How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney and other members of our community in your prayers.