Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby inthegobi » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:32 pm

For the 12th Sunday Ordinary* I heard an excellent sermon on what you might call the 'usual' interpretion on the Gospel: things will work out well because God is in charge. We can ask for the storm to be stilled and He will (or may well) still it. The Psalm reinforces this.

But the inclusion of Job in the readings thrust me into an entirely different direction. I'm not sure it's the right direction, though.

The Old Testament lesson was from Job 38:1, 8-11:
The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
Who shut within doors the sea,
when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
When I set limits for it
and fastened the bar of its door,
and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stilled!


The Epistle was from 2 Cor 5:14-17; considering the other readings it is curiously silent on if the Lord will save us from danger. It does however talk about the man of faith, one who is reborn in Christ.

Here's the nub of the Gospel, from Mark 4:35-41:
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”


In the passage from Job there's a lot about God's power and the terrors of His creation, and nothing about Him saving Job from any of it. Job also asks for nothing but for God to answer for Himself; he doesn't ask for his sons back, or his wealth, or his social standing.

(Job's a funny book: almost holy slapstick. Job gets smacked around by just about everything and everyone: Satan, his wife, his friends, even some young stranger who pipes up near the end. At the end he at last demands God face him and justify Himself (before the heavenly court, as it were), and God answers him - only to slap Job around Personally! "Who do you think *you* are, calling me into court?")

With Job in my mind, the oddities of the Gospel reading started to stand out.
(1) Jesus seemed to be in no hurry to stop the storm. And, he never directly answers their question. For all the author *tells* us He might *not* have saved them from the storm, and *might* have been satisfied to sleep right through as every mother's son of them drowned.
(2) He asks them only why they are *terrified* (to which anyone might reply 'Maybe because we're about to drown?!.
(3) He ascribes their terror to not yet having faith - not to the very prudent fear of drowning.

I was taught there is an important difference between faith and hope. You might hope Jesus will keep you safe from harm, ordinary harm included, such as drowning at sea. Hope is a looking-forward virtue. Faith however is a present-minded virtue, and doesn't (to me) imply that this or that particular thing will come true. The disciples could have had faith right then and there, and still have all drowned. Jesus rebuking the storm would then be like 'no, false call Wind and Wave, these guys aren't ready - yet.'

So it occurred to me that Jesus only stills the storm in that way He has in other events where His audience doesn't ken the real, theological meaning of the situation. He then gives them a more ordinary miracle, as if to say 'Oh well, if you're still concerned about such small things . . .' Thus He foreshadows both their lack of faith at the Crucifixion (they don't *yet* have faith) and their later real faith, which allows almost all the Apostles to endure death.

You can generate many very different and orthodox sermons out of given set of readings. But what's the Gospel verse itself really about? I feel I'm leaning hard on the narrow meaning of faith (in contrast to hope). We do often use 'faith' as a synonym for hope. Is that what's going on in the Gospel? Are we meant to assume Jesus would have stilled the storm in His own time - that maybe the disciples were like nervous driving instructors who slam the brakes just before the student driver was calmly going to do just that in good time?

C Kirk

*(I'm on a private campaign to never use the phrase 'Ordinary Time')
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Re: Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby seamas o dalaigh » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:40 pm

Chris,


I'm on a private campaign to never use the phrase 'Ordinary Time'




Why? It's the usual (and the official) translation of Tempus per Annum.
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Re: Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby Gabriel » Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:46 pm

I expect that the apostles knew the Psalms by heart. The Responsorial Psalm (107) must have sprung to their minds:

23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; 24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. 25 For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and were at their wits' end. 28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; 29 he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men!
Joe Kelley

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
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Re: Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby inthegobi » Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:16 pm

Joe,

Gabriel wrote:I expect that the apostles knew the Psalms by heart. The Responsorial Psalm (107) must have sprung to their minds:


Perhaps; but note that the Psalm doesn't have the Lord first objecting to their lack of faith. Why does Jesus pause in the middle of a storm to tell them they lack faith, when they are asking nothing more than do the sailors of Psalm 107?

Both sets trust enough to ask God to save them from the storm. There is either a difference in themselves, or in the lesson God wishes to impart.

C Kirk
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Re: Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby inthegobi » Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:38 pm

seamas o dalaigh wrote:Chris,


I'm on a private campaign to never use the phrase 'Ordinary Time'




Why? It's the usual (and the official) translation of Tempus per Annum.


As for usual and official, translations change and even improve - as I'm reminded as a cantor every time I try to go on 'automatic', look up from my book and sing 'Holy, Holy, Holy Lord/ God of power, God of might instead of 'Holy, Holy, Holy/ God of hosts.' It changed partly because enough people cared about the change. (And because Benedict wanted it changed.)

As for why change it, (1) tempus per annum isn't *well* translated as 'ordinary time' on any planet except Planet ICEL. (2) It is dull as ditchwater - as dull as much of the ICEL English was, including - ahem - the liturgy of the Mass. (3) There was nothing wrong with the old practice of speaking of Sundays in Epiphany, in Trinity etc. - it's just fiddling. (4) And this is only how every liturgical calendar shows it still today - you see a large green area for the season of Trinity, not a single green sliver for Trinity Sunday and a vast grey, 'ordinary' looking area after that.

There's a good-middling movie of Terry Gilliam, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where a character, the Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, is inadvertently mocked as 'Your Ordinariness'. Heh.

C Kirk
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Re: Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby seamas o dalaigh » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:06 pm

Chris,

The reason it was changed was because it was thought a bit silly to have twenty-something "Sundays After Trinity". (Sort of gives an emphasis to Trinity Sunday that's not entirely warranted.)
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Re: Gospel for 12th Sunday Ordinary

Postby inthegobi » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:07 pm

James:

Why do we call it the season of Trinity then? In fact I heard a priest one Mass recently call it the *great* season of Trinity. (Altho', his beard has some white in it, so maybe it was force of habit.)

And, (over)emphasis on the season of Trinity is precisely what I see in every single calendar of the church year:

Here's Google's list:

https://www.google.com/search?q=calendar+of+the+Catholic+liturgical+year+image&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=m_GJVeyoCtLcoASYtZ_oCA&ved=0CCgQsAQ&biw=1033&bih=632

And here's a typical sample of the sort of thing I've seen in every parish I've ever attended:

Image

All these calendars visually emphasize Trinity. The one above does so a little less since it gives enough detail to see the feast days during Trinity. Many simply show a huge swath of green.

And I repeat - the Seventh Sunday in Trinity (or Epiphany, etc.) was good enough for *centuries*. Now English-speakers are forced to call whole swathes of the year 'ordinary'. It is just 'fiddling' - nothing very theological about it. Aannd . . . for that very reason, I should drop my robo-call campaign. :hanky:

(Or, is this like the oddity in American English of speaking of 'national' parishes when 'ethnic' would have been more accurate?)

C Kirk
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