Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

by | Jun 23, 2024 | Homilies

St. Martha Prayer

Your faith led Jesus to proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Your unwavering belief allowed you to see beyond His humanity when you cried out,

“Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

With firm hope, you declared, “I know that God will give you whatever you ask of Him,”

and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead.

With pure love for Jesus, you welcomed Him into your home.

Friend and servant of our Savior, I too am “troubled about many things.”

Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope, and love,

and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me

a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.

Nino Baglieri was born in southern Sicily in a small town called Modica. When he was 17 years old, he fell off a scaffolding and injured himself so severely that he was paralyzed. The only thing he could do was move his head.

In the years that followed, Nino became bitter over what had happened to him. His depression became so dark that a local doctor offered to kill him with an injection so that his mother would no longer have to take care of him. But she let the doctor know in no uncertain terms that she would be by his side until he died naturally.

Then, one Good Friday, the members of a prayer group visited Nino’s home and offered to pray over him. He agreed. As they prayed, he experienced a warm sensation through his broken body. Though he did not receive a physical healing, Nino knew that he had experienced a deep spiritual healing. As he described it, “a new force entered me and something old came out. I accepted my cross and said yes to the Lord.”

From that day forward, Nino dedicated himself to prayer, offering up his suffering for others. Learning how to write by holding a pen in his mouth, he began sending letters to others who were sick and isolated. He would also use a stick to dial the phone so that he could call others and lift their spirits with his friendship and prayers. Those who knew him said he radiated joy which inspired them to bear their own suffering with courage and patience.

When he died in March 2007, he was buried with sneakers on because he said that he wanted to be able to run to Jesus when he saw Him.

The transformation that took place in Nino Baglieri’s life echoes what Saint Paul says in today’s second reading: “So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Cor 5:17 RSV). When we welcome Jesus into our hearts, everything changes. We are transformed. Faith turned Nino Baglieri from a bitter young man into someone who was filled with joy and who no longer would let his physical limitations hold him back from sharing that joy with others. That same faith can transform us also, no matter what limitations we may be dealing with.

Jesus has that type of power. When we commit our lives to Him, then that power comes rushing into our lives and makes everything new.

That power of Jesus is displayed in today’s gospel.

As fishermen, the apostles were experienced sailors. But the squall that came up on the Sea of Galilee was so powerful that they lost control of the boat. All their strength and skill were useless against the forces of nature. That is when they finally stopped relying on themselves and turned to Jesus. As Saint Mark puts it, “he rebuked the wind.” In other words, he spoke to the storm as if it were a child acting up or a dog barking. There is no question who was in charge. No matter how fierce the storm might have been, Jesus was even fiercer.

We should not be surprised by this. Jesus is God the Son. As Almighty God, He has power and control over everything.

There are times when we face storms in our lives that come up out of nowhere and threaten to pull us under the waves. It could be an accident like Nino Baglieri had that takes away our health and makes us dependent on others. It could be the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. In those moments, everything we thought we could rely on – our abilities, our strengths, our assets – are of no use. We feel lost, helpless, and afraid.

Like Nino Baglieri and like the apostles in today’s gospel, that is when we turn to Jesus. Saint Mark tells us that, when the storm came, Jesus was asleep in the boat. He was there already, close by. Whatever storms we might be facing, we can be confident that Jesus is there, resting comfortably, waiting for us to turn to Him so that He can show us His love by exercising His Almighty power in our lives.

There is an element of trust that we have to have when we turn to Jesus in these situations. In the case of the apostles, He calmed the storm instantly and everything was immediately better. However, in the case of Nino Baglieri,he chose not to take away his suffering. No matter how Jesus answers us when we call out to Him, we have to believe that it is all for the best. Jesus has power to silence the storm and He also has the power to bring good out of evil. He showed that power on the cross when He transformed His suffering into the cause of our salvation. He can do it in our lives if we accept the storms of life with confidence that He is with us and that He will see us through it.

When the storm winds come, it is a reminder of just how little control we have over our lives. But there is one who does have control. There is one who is in charge.
The good news is that He loves us and is with us whenever we call upon Him. He wants to help us. But, most importantly, He wants to transform us and fashion us into a new creation. If we welcome Him into our lives and commit ourselves to living “no longer for ourselves but for Him”, the storms of life will not destroy us. They will only strengthen us and empower us to inspire others just as the apostles did and just as Nino Baglieri did.

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