Sermons

Sunday, June 21: Twelfth Sunday — “Father’s Day”

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.” (2 Cor 5;14-17)

Jesus at sea

On this Father’s Day, we celebrate the baptisms of Louis Joseph and Amelie Altus, and with their parents, grandparents and godparents, we are “glad all over.”

This is what sacraments do for us – at baptism, confirmation, and weddings – that “glad all over feeling” knowing that the Lord is with us both in good times, and in today’s gospel those fearsome times at sea.

Several months ago, I went shopping for a pair of shoes at the Walnut Creek Nordstrom’s Department Store.

I told my name to the young salesman assisting me, and that I needed a good pair of sneakers with solid arches for walking; and in the middle of the conversation I mentioned that I was taking a group of Saint Mary’s students to Rome for Jan Term.

As we talked I explained that I was a teacher and a priest. He told me that his name was John Paul. As he was unpacking my brand-new New Balance shoes, he looked up at me and added: “Father I was not named after the pope, rather my mother gave me the name of two of the “Beatles.”

I replied: well, the good news is that she did not name you “Ringo George,” after the two remaining “Beatles.”

This got me to thinking that in the 1960’s at the time of the great “British Invasion” with such rock groups as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones; there was yet another “Boys Band,” long, long before One Direction — and they were called the “Dave Clark Five.”

Who, by the way, performed, on the Ed Sullivan Show many more times than the Beatles; they were very popular with audiences both in the UK and the United States; with the essential elements of fast music, and those screaming girls accompanying the public reaction to this rock group.

One of the Dave Clark Five’s biggest hits was the song “Glad All Over.” The lyric goes something like: “You say you love me all the time. You say you need me, and you’ll always be mine – well, baby I’m feeling glad all over, yes glad all over!”

So what’s the connection with Mark’s gospel? Interestingly, Jesus does not explain away our fears, sufferings or even those uncontrollable waves on the high seas, or in this case the lake.

Instead, he redirects our energies to see and appreciate a deeper, more permanent understanding of God’s powerful creation at work – that “glad all over” feeling of grace possible in us, his new creation.

We feel his calming touch in words and gestures and in our ministry to one another and the world. His was one of bringing comfort and inner healing to his people – whose fears were turned into hope and courage.

Why else in the gospel would you read about this scene on the sea? And hear his words: “Come to me all you who are burden and I will refresh you,” from Matthew’s gospel.

This month of June is dedicated to the “Sacred Heart of Jesus,” whose outstretched arms embrace all people. Or we read in John’s gospel, “Set your troubled hearts at rest. Trust is God always; trust also in me.”

G.K. Chesterton makes a point worth remembering: “We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

We pray for trust in the hearts of all people, and most especially for the spiritual loyalty and solidarity among our sisters and brothers of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. We focus our prayers on them, and their grief, as today they walk back into their Church sanctuary, the scene of such violence and loss of loved ones.

Yesterday’s New York Times had a full banner headline with the words of Nadine Collier, the daughter of Ethel Lance whose life was lost along with eight others.

Collier’s words: “I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But, I will forgive you!”

To truly understand this kind of forgiveness is to touch on the grace of God. This is the “glad all over “ knowledge that he is close to us and good to us — in good times and, most of all, at times of unforeseen losses that break our hearts.

AMEChurch

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