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12 Sunday in Ordinary Time 21.06.2015

The series of lectures Archbishop Coleridge’s is giving with the intriguing title “Living Bibilically in a Secular World” reward well the effort expended to download them from the archdiocesan website and listen to them. I have found that Bluetooth in the car allows me to listen as I am driving along.

The most recent lecture, number 4 in the series of 9 (I actually hope that he does not cease doing something like this when he has completed the series) continues what he began earlier about the use of story in the bible and the fact that the bible is story but not one that we can read or listen to for light entertainment. The story fundamentally is about us and our relationship with God. The stories even though they were written by people long, long ago are not quaint accounts by people who did not have the knowledge we have now. The archbishop warns us not to patronise the ancients because they did not have the good fortune to be in our enlightened times. The stories in the bible are works of great sophistication which we have to learn to read and listen to if we are to access the deep meaning in them.

The biblical stories are not stories of heroes and heroines and fair damsels in distress with endings where everyone lives happily ever after. They are stories that takes us into the deep messiness of human existence where people are anything but heroes and heroines.

The story of Jesus and the storm tossed crossing of the Sea of Galilee is a case in point. What does the story tell us? First of all we learn that Jesus can sleep. We know from other places that he gets tired but this is the only time we hear of him sleeping, and sleeping very soundly if the boat tossing in the storm does not wake him. He has been teaching the crowds and then after the crowds have left, the disciples. After this he is exhausted.

The words of rebuke they greet him with as he wakes up reveals their understanding that he can do something about the perilous situation they are in – the boat taking water in the heavy seas. And he does. Like God, Jesus speaks with authority and even the threatening forces of nature obey. Having set them free from their fears in this way he challenges them over their lack of faith.

Biblical faith is not blind faith. Biblical faith is faith born of vision and knowledge. The disciples believe in Jesus because they know him and have seen what he can do. Jesus acts with the authority of God who spoke to Job and reminded him that the forces of nature were not outside the power of God, nor outside the power of Jesus.

The love of Christ that makes us new creations overcomes the powers that rise up to overwhelm us, to sink the crafts we travel in. This will not happen if we keep ourselves united with Christ in Faith. Terrors then recede and we find ourselves in a calm place able to listen to and enjoy the presence of Christ.

Fr Adrian Farrelly

Date Posted Title Listen Download
Jun 22, 2015 12 Sunday in Ordinary Time 21.06.2015 Listen Download