Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

We are approaching the 24th anniversary of a thrilling, gripping, and terrifying film called “The Perfect Storm.” It was especially for me because I have a fear of deep water, probably because I never learned to swim.

Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working day, pitting their fishing boats and rescue vessels against the capricious forces of nature. It’s the story of the “Andrea Gail” a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands-on Halloween of 1991, when they were confronted by 3 raging weather fronts which unexpectedly collide to produce the greatest, fiercest storm in modern history – ”The Perfect Storm.” It was no help to have handsome George Clooney at the helm in the movie version!

Mark’s gospel is often sparing in detail, but we can well imagine the fear in the hearts of even these professional fishermen later to be called “Apostles” when such a storm arises with them in a relatively small fishing boat. But Mark adds that someone else was with them in the boat. We know Him as Our Lord and God, a most powerful person whom we know can take away all fears. And He’s asleep, of all things! (May I observe that “Even God can take a nap”?) And so, He is forced to wake up and then scold the very wind and waters that He created and tell them to quiet and still. Of course, the men had to ask themselves “What sort of man us this?” Later, they would learn about Him for sure.

Now what about us? What do we do with all our twenty plus centuries of Christian dogma tucked away somewhere? We can’t just regard this episode as a fun story for a Summer’s Day.

One reaction we could have, with not a little effort on our part at select times, is to pack up all our fears and figuratively lay them at Christ’s feet. If it’s too difficult to do it at once, do it one step at a time.

Here’s a little story I like called “The Bishop.” One Saturday night a newly ordained priest received a last-minute assignment from his bishop to deliver the Sunday homily at the bishop’s cathedral. “But how can I do this?” he asked the bishop. “I’ve never before preached to a large congregation such as yours, and I have nothing prepared!” To which the bishop replied, “Trust the Lord, young man. Just trust the Lord.”

Later that night the young preacher leafed through the bishop’s bible, searching for inspiration. He came upon some typed notes the bishop had tucked in the bible. After reading them over the priest liked them so much that he took them to the pulpit next morning. The young priest impressed the congregation with words having a wisdom in them beyond his years. After Mass, many people thanked him for his excellent preaching. Then the bishop himself came through the crowd and said “Young man, you preached the homily I was going to deliver tonight. Now what shall I do?” “Trust the Lord, bishop,” said the young man. “Just trust the Lord!”

God love you and give you His peace.

Rev. Peterson’s Reading & Gospel Summary

Reading I: Job 38: 1, 8-11

Yahweh speaks to Job and asks him, “Were you with me at the creation when I set the boundaries for the seas?” In turn, we are asked to trust in God, who can surely do such things.

Reading II: 2 Corinthians 5: 14-17

We believe that Christ died and rose again for our sakes. Because of His sacrifice, we are free to love God and avoid sin.

The Gospel: Mark 4: 35-41

When “even the winds and the sea obey Him,” we realize that we must make a decision about Christ. This is for our present and the future.