PROPER 7 (12) – Year B

5th Sunday after Pentecost — June 23, 2024

Gospel Lectionary Text

Mark 4:35-41

4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."

4:36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.

4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.

4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"

4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.

4:40 He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?"

4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"


Welcome to the fifth Sunday after Pentecost. In this week’s text, we navigate the stormy Sea of Galilee with Jesus and His disciples.

The Sea of Galilee, prone to sudden violent storms due to its unique geographic features, also symbolized the divide between Jews and Gentiles. Jesus’ journey across this water wasn’t just a risky physical crossing; it was a challenge to the social and spiritual boundaries of the time.

It's not surprising that His disciples faced a squall threatening to overturn their lives, or that their fearful reaction mirrored the storm's violent upheaval. After all, these were the kinds of moments when people threw everything overboard to save their ship, including anyone who might be seen as troubling the waters or as the cause of chaos — just ask Jonah.

Awakened amidst the tumult, Jesus doesn’t mirror the storm's violence, or the disciples' fear. Instead he speaks 'peace' to the troubled waters. The only thing he casts out is the violent wind itself, like an unclean spirit.


When the storm has subsided, He asks His disciples, "Why are you afraid?” Perhaps the question for us might be, “Why isn’t Jesus afraid?” The answer, it seems, leads to peace.


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

Riding the Waves of the City

I spent my formative childhood years in wilderness. Every day prompted a new foray into the woods with my dog Bessie leading the way. This was actual wilderness, not the national kind with streams of visitors. Bessie and I were the only outsiders; our hosts were cougars, bobcats, coyotes, bears, owls, skunks, and rattlesnakes.

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison