The Catholic University of America

Nov. 13, 2013 

Mass in Solidarity and Prayer for the People of the Philippines

Homily by Rev. Justin Ross, O.F.M. Conv.
Associate Campus Minister


We selected these readings for our Mass today, with the familiar passage recalling how Jesus calmed the storm on the boat [Mark 4:35-41], not only because of story’s ability to speak to us in our prayer and reflection on how the super typhoon has impacted so many people in the Philippines, but also because we know that we sometimes face storms that shake our inmost calm in our own lives. When we look at the scene in the Gospel, we can see a striking contrast between the disciples and Jesus. The disciples were frantic – they were afraid that their boat was going to capsize and that they were going to drown. And Jesus was calm. He says, “Be quiet. Be still.” I think Jesus was speaking just as much to the disciples as he was to the winds and waves that night. Knowing that God is in command of the water, Jesus trusts that the Father is just as much in charge of us. And so Jesus tells us to be still, to trust in his ability to be with us and to guide us through any storm.

We may not be able to travel the distance to physically help with the relief efforts in the Philippines. We may not be able to help rebuild, to clear roads of debris, to help loved ones separated from family members be reunited, and we may not be able to perform the great work of mercy in burying the dead, but we can certainly join in prayer and solidarity with the people of the Philippines who have been impacted by this tragedy. And we can also be in solidarity and support with those members of our University community who have friends and family members in the Philippines as well. How might we do this? What example can we take from Jesus in this Gospel passage?

Jesus offers two things to the disciples in the boat that stormy night: consolation and compassion. Jesus consoles the disciples and encourages them to have faith, to trust in God – that God is able to handle the storm. And he is compassionate to them. He hears their cries for help and he acts. The challenge of the Gospel tonight is for us to do the same, especially for those members of our University community who have loved ones that have been impacted by the typhoon. To reach out in care and support, to offer our prayers for hope and healing, to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, this is the call of Jesus to us, his disciples. When we do this, we will always be in the Lord’s peace.




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