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Weathering Many Storms of Fatherhood

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“What’s faith got to do with it, got do with it?” (Mk 4:35-41)

The annual day to celebrate fathers pales in comparison to the near feast day for mothers. This year there are competing events vying for attention. President Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a new Federal holiday recognizing the end of slavery in the U.S. This is also World Refugee Day, a time to pray for millions of migrants and asylum seekers traveling for safety and a dignified life.

Today we hear the powerful account of Jesus calming the sea and remember the storms in our own lives. Scripture tells us a “violent squall came up” while Jesus peacefully slept in the boat. This popular account raises several themes for our spiritual nourishment. When the apostles aroused Jesus in a panic he asked them, “Why are you terrified?” Certain they were at the brink of death, he continued, “Do you not yet have faith?” Each of them likely wondered, “What’s faith got to do with this catastrophic situation?” In that moment, they could only beg Jesus for help. We know his words calmed the storm and their fears.

All fathers fear for their children’s well-being and doubt their ability to steer their family to safe harbors. There is an abundance of criticism and not nearly enough appreciation for ordinary fathers who do what they can to protect and provide for their families. In their scariest moments they too can only cry out to Jesus for rescue and direction.

Reflecting on the difficulties of the world’s refugees always calls to my memory the extraordinary 3-D fabric depiction suspended on a wall in the Lyke House chapel in Atlanta. The Flight of the Holy Family Out of Egypt presents Joseph with a steady arm around Mary and Jesus. Together they move West in a horizontal and breath of the Holy Spirit flying pattern, escaping just in time.

The Juneteenth holiday caught me by surprise especially given storms swirling around us at this time. I think of storms of resistance to teaching true American history, hundreds of voter suppression laws racing through state legislatures, obstruction to living wages, the uber-rich avoiding taxes, long-term effects of COVID, crumbling infrastructure and our neglected care economy to name a few. These modern day injustices can be found in Scripture.

Still, the word of God brings us “peace that surpasses all understanding.” Let us meditate on the words of Jesus spoken to us today in each of these themes. Through faith his words will calm the storms in our hearts, families, financial situations, health conditions, spiritual lives and in our world.

Author: Donna Grimes, a dear friend of Eat the Scroll Ministry, one of the original writers.


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