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Gospel reflection

June 23, 2024: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Mark 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

Sister Teresa Costello during prayer


Don’t rock the boat!

I’m quite familiar with hearing this phrase. In the early days of my profession, I was more impetuous and didn’t regard the way things had always been done, but I’ve never had any qualms about trying something different. I don’t think I’m as obnoxious to be around today, and hopefully, I’m more tactful in my approach.

Safety and security in the routine, gentle rocking of the boat is not unlike the restful, calming rocking of a baby in its mother’s arms, so it would make sense that we might not like to have a more abrupt or violent rocking of the boat we’re in — it’s uncomfortable to say the least. It causes us stress and worry. The disciples were concerned that Jesus seemed to just sleep through this storm that came up on the sea.

We have the benefit of knowing who Jesus was. It leads me to question if he knew the storm was coming. Did he really go to sleep in the boat knowing that this turbulence was on its way? I’m not sure, but I think it’s entirely possible. Jesus knows that if a truly threatening situation arises, they’ll have a path to safety. He remains calm faced with the storm and goes so far as to command the storm to calm down. Jesus is teaching us that the rocking of our boat is inevitable, and rather than reacting in fear — which is a normal and reasonable response, we should stand firm and maybe even rock back. Maybe we’re called by this story to emulate the storm a little when it comes to the injustices we see in the world around us and rock the boat enough to wake up others.


This week, let’s ask ourselves if we’re in a rocking boat or if we’re doing the rocking. If the latter, is it serving a purpose, or will Jesus be asking us to be still?

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Brad Crites

Brad Crites

Brad Crites is a Providence Associate and former webmaster and adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. He specializes in teaching and learning as well as organizational culture and change dynamics. He is committed to philanthropy and community development as a Lilly Scholar Alumnus. He currently works for Purdue University as an Educational Technology Consultant. Brad lives with his wife, Tiffany, and their children, Brooklyn and Brett, on their historic family farm near Solsberry, Indiana.

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