Some thoughts on today’s Gospel…
This incident of the disciples and Jesus in the boat reminds me that, when the Pope blessed the entire world at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he referred to the fact that the world-wide illness showed that we were all in the same boat.
I read recently, however, a commentary that suggested that the pandemic revealed that we are in rather different boats. Some of us are in yachts. We could work from home and have high-speed internet. Others were in row boats. They were considered essential workers, and they had to show up every day to serve our needs and keep things functioning. Still others found themselves hanging on to a piece of driftwood, losing their jobs, having a hard time getting essentials, barely making it.
Today’s gospel, Mark 4:35-41, is at the heart of the traditional image of the Church as a boat. If Jesus is indeed with us, keeping us safe and calming the storms that threaten us, we need to help others to reach safety. Our task is not just to pray together in churches, but to care for one another, help each other to be safe, gratefully acknowledge those who meet our needs, and meet the needs of those who are barely hanging on. That’s how we truly get to be “in the same boat.”
And some thoughts for Father’s Day…
Once upon a time, more than seventeen hundred years ago, a young man decided to become a saint. He left his home, family and possessions. He said goodbye to relatives and friends and walked off into the desert to find God. He walked through the desert sands until he found a cave. “Here,” he thought, “I will be alone with God.” He prayed day and night in the dark cave. But God sent him great temptations. He imagined all the good things in life and wanted them desperately. However, he was determined to give up everything in order to have God alone. After many months the temptations stopped. St. Anthony of Egypt was at peace, having nothing but God.
But one day, God said, “Leave your cave for a few days and go to a distant town. Look for the town shoemaker. Knock on his door and stay with him for a while.” Anthony walked to the distant town, found the shoemaker’s house and knocked on the door. A smiling man opened it. He noticed how tired and hungry the hermit looked. “Come in,” he said. “You need something to eat and a place to rest.” The shoemaker called his wife. They prepared a fine meal for the hermit and gave him a good bed to sleep on.
The hermit stayed with the shoemaker and his family for several days and then said goodbye and returned to the cave. God asked him, “What was the shoemaker like?” Anthony responded, “He is a simple man. He has a wife who is going to have a baby. They seem to love each other very much. He has a small shop and he makes shoes. He works hard. They have a simple house. They give money and food to those who have less than they have. He and his wife believe strongly in you and pray together. And the shoemaker enjoys telling jokes.”
God listened carefully. “You are a great saint, Anthony,” he said. “and the shoemaker and his wife are great saints, too.”
On this weekend when we honor fathers, we wish them, who serve in so many different ways, a happy Father’s Day. May God bless you for all you do and all you are!