christian trials


THEME: Faith in the Midst of Storms.

BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie


HOMILY: Job 38:1,8-11; Psalm 107:23-31; 2Cor 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41.

1. Existence in our society today can adequately be described as living in the midst of storms. The storms are of different forms and of varying intensity. They come as crisis in personal lives, crisis in the family, hardship, violence and insecurity in the society, and confusion and insincerity in the spiritual and religious life. There are terrible moments when we find ourselves in the midst of violent storms and no one is visible to rescue us. We cry and no one hears. Even God seems not to care. But does He really care less? This is the question provoked by today’s readings. Despite our inability to see, God is always present in all the storm of our life.

2. The first reading presents the divine response to Job after Job’s lament in the face of unjust suffering and God’s silence. Job sees himself amidst terrible storms that render his life terribly miserable. He does not understand why God should leave him to suffer so terribly. The significant thing, however, is that God speaks to Job from the storm, otherwise called the tempest. God lets Job to understand that His ways are too mysterious for Job to simplify. We are often like Job. We often think we are alone when we suffer. We often think we know how God acts, but we end up getting perplexed when the real encounter comes.

3. The Gospel text from Mark 4:35-41 brings us face to face with a real storm. The disciples of Jesus are on a journey by boat to the other side as Jesus himself directed. Then comes a terrible storm that puts them in mortal danger. Their boat begins to sink. The surprising thing is that Jesus is also in the boat but sleeping. One can imagine it: the Church sinking amidst stormy waves while Jesus remains silent. His presense in the storm-tossed boat is a powerful message that God never abandons us in crisis moments. What we need is faith just as Jesus tells his frightened disciples: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
Faith looks deeper and sees what the eyes cannot see. It is only with faith that we can remain calm in the midst of storms, knowing that God is present in our storms, in our pains, in our crisis moments, however deep and great they are.

4. The second reading from 2Cor 5 invites us tp renew our lives so as to live coherently the new type of life opened up in Christ. It invites us as Christians to a new mode of existence as we are now a new creation in Christ. We have to adopt a spiritual mode of living and seeing things. This involves rising above the divisions and pettiness characteristic of the old mode of living in the flesh.
Living in the new creation and as the new creation involves seeing the presence of God in all our trials and hard experiences of life. It involves rising above the facile interpretation of events that often leave us more discouraged, more hopeless and more divided. Living the new life involves seeing the presence of God in all situations and responding to Him in faith, hope and love. This love is the energy that drives everything in the new life. The Apostle Paul puts it aptly: “The love of Christ urges us on.” Even when we are discouraged and menaced by fear in the midst of the storm, it is only the love of Christ that pushes us to keep struggling and moving. It is a love that calms our fears, heals our wounds, defused tensions around us and unites us across dividing lines.

May this love love continue to urge us on as we struggle in the midst of increasing storms !

Fr. Luke Ijezie

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