The past eighteen months have been very different for all of us. We have been blown off course from what was our normal life and endured the storm brought about by Covid. At times for many this has been overwhelming. With a fair wind we will soon be able to start meeting more people and perhaps some things will return to how they used to be or better. This storm has given us all a chance to reflect on what is important in life, with many people recognising just how special their family and friends are to them, having been denied that most crucial aspect of human life; companionship; which community makes available to us.

In our readings today we are reminded of the sheer awesomeness of God as the creator of everything and of how available He is to us. Job, in our first reading, hears God explain how the sea is bounded and the limits set by God, so that the waves break as they hit the shore. Pope Francis in his Encyclical Laudato Si, explains that God created everything and then charged mankind with managing the earth and all it contains. Right now, the boundaries of the sea set by God are under threat because of the mismanagement of the earth by mankind. 6 years on from its launch the Pope has issued a seven-year plan known as the Laudato si’ Action Platform.1

The Laudato si’ Action Platform will focus on seven sectors: families, parishes, schools, hospitals, businesses, organizations, and religious orders.

The pope explained that the action plan also has seven goals: the response to the cry of the earth, the response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of simple lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality, and community involvement.

Pope Francis, as part of this launch said “Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsible ways are threatening the future of our children”.2 This call hits home for me as a parent and new grandparent, I want the best for my children and grandchild. I need to ask myself, what can I do to help? When we face an issue as large as the Climate Crisis or the Covid Crisis; which are dominating our world today; they often seem too much for one man or woman to make a difference. But when we all take a stand and do things together, as a Community, we can make a difference; as we heard last week one of the largest trees started off as the tiniest of seeds. I would like to see us as a Parish and as a Pastoral Area take up the challenge given by Pope Francis and look at what we can do as part of the Action Platform. One of Pope Francis’ quotes, which really struck me was “We have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all. From God’s hands we have received a garden, we cannot leave a desert to our children.3

CaFOD have initiated the Live Simply Awards, and have published 100 ideas of how we as a Parish Community can respond to Pope Francis’ call to live more simply, I am aware that some Parishioners have already taken part in some of these activities, but I believe it is something which more of us should be involved in; if you are interested in this please approach me after Mass or email me at adarroch@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk.4 When I look through the 100 ideas, I am aware we have already done some of these in our home, by investing in insulation and other home improvements which reduce energy costs. But there are also some which we started to do, but have allowed good habits to lapse, like double sided printing. There are ideas which can be taken up by most people as individuals or families, all of them provide a way of changing little bits of our lives for the benefit of everyone.

Making changes that have the ability to impact our lives and our planet can seem to be overwhelming, but today’s Gospel reminds us that when things appear to be too much for us to cope with, we can turn to Jesus and ask him to calm whatever ‘our storm’ is and quieten the anxieties we have. Jesus asks us to have faith in Him and to trust our worries to Him. As the creator of all, He has the power over everything. The experienced fishermen on the boat with Jesus that day were concerned enough to know that their boat was in trouble, they would have done everything humanly possible to try and manage the situation, then they turned to God in their anguish; in fear for their lives; and asked their Master to save them.

Jesus calls us to be in a relationship with Him, just as the disciples were in a relationship with Him. He does not want us to wait until a time of crisis, He wants us to communicate with Him every day, in everyday tasks, at various times of the day. This is one of the key messages we are hearing on the ‘Belong and Believe’ sessions, which is being run in our Pastoral Area. It has prompted me to think more often about my faith as I go about my day, to pray more when faced with challenges, to pray before difficult meetings and to read more about the Celtic traditions which helped to form the Church in this country. It is a very good course and I highly recommend it to everyone if it is being run again.

Our second reading today talks about a different kind of overwhelming, St Paul is describing being overwhelmed by the love of Jesus; a love which encourages us to put Jesus at the centre of our lives. In this love we are new creations, wedded to Christ, dedicating everything we do to Jesus. This is a love which calls us to repeat the words of the psalm, “Give thanks to the lord for his love endures for ever”. This is a love which calls us to come together on at least a weekly basis to praise God, to celebrate our Communion with Him and each other, which was instituted by Jesus Christ His Son, who was born, lived, died and rose again for us, so that we can live for ever with Him.

St Mark’s Gospel often challenges the faith of the disciples, today is no exception, remember they had already seen many healings; including the driving out of unclean spirits, and the curing of people who had obvious disfigurements; now they witnessed Jesus controlling the weather and the waves of the lake. They asked ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him’, If they had looked to earlier scriptures they would have found the answer in the first reading we have today from Job ‘Come thus far, I said, and no farther; here your proud waves shall break’.

Today is Father’s Day in the UK, I wish all father’s a Happy Father’s Day, I remember those in prayer whose Dad is no longer with them, I remember those in prayer whose relationship with their Dad was not a happy one. I pray for all dads that they can be good role models and that they take their example from St Joseph, who cared for Jesus and guided him as He grew up. I pray for our priests, who are called to be Fathers to many, may they be good Fathers, may they be holy Fathers, may they be given the gift of wisdom to guide their Parish Families in all aspects of life and may they be loved by their Parish Families as Jesus loved Joseph.

Please keep in your prayers

  • The continued success of the Belong and Believe course.
  • Those who have now completed the RCIA Course and those who continue on it.
  • Those preparing for ordination to the Priesthood, Diaconate and Permanent Diaconate.
  • The Year of the Eucharist, which has now started, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • Those who have been unable to receive the Eucharist during the pandemic.
  • The nine families who will complete the Baptism Preparation Course this Sunday.

1 Laudato Si Action Platform available from LaudatoSi.org – Action Platform accessed 19th June 2021.

2 Catholic News Agency launch of Laudato Si Action Platform, available from Pope Francis launches 7-year Laudato si’ action plan (catholicnewsagency.com) accessed 19th June 2021.

3 Catholic News Agency launch of Laudato Si Action Platform, available from Pope Francis launches 7-year Laudato si’ action plan (catholicnewsagency.com) accessed 19th June 2021.

4 100 live simply ideas available from LiveSimply – A4 100 Ideas list.pdf (cafod.org.uk) accessed 19th June 2021