Homily for Kevin Eley: Sept 9th 2023

September 11, 2023

Mark 4:35-41  & II Tim 4:6-8

are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” I hate it when Jesus asks questions
like this…especially when there is a good reason for people to be afraid.  It’s not like it was a light drizzle and they
were anxious about getting wet.   The
Gospel says that the boat was already being swamped and Jesus was asleep.  The disciples had to wake him up.  Their question was understandable: “Teacher,
do you not care that we are perishing?” 
We know that Jesus cared.  He
calmed the storm.  No one drowned.  But why did he have to wait until the boat
was swamped?  What person in their right
mind wouldn’t have woken Jesus up and asked a few questions?

have a lot of questions I would like to ask Jesus when I meet him.  And one of them will be, “Why do good, kind,
loving people die decades before they should?” 
There will be people who tell you that there is a reason for everything
that happens.  And if that helps you, I
am not going to argue with you.  But I
think that often hurts our relationship with God, when we assume that God has
this master plan that includes good people dying long before they should. I am
sorry, but that’s a lousy master plan.  I
believe that sometimes horrible, awful things happen and if we try to figure
out the reason, we may just torture ourselves. 
There is no good reason for Kevin dying when he did.  I don’t think if Jesus were here now he would
try to provide a reason.  He would just hold
your hand while you cry.  Jesus can’t
always provide the answer, but he can help us grieve, help us learn not from
the death, but the life that Kevin lived.

few people have mentioned that Kevin’s legacy will be Youth Sailing.  No doubt that was a great passion and an
amazing accomplishment that will affect many lives for years to come.  But I think another legacy he leaves is what
was so beautifully said in his obituary, “Kevin lived life to the fullest with
no regrets or deeds undone.”  How many of
us can say that same thing?  It’s the
deeds undone part that really struck me. 
The reason many people fear death is because of the knowledge of
everything they have not yet accomplished. 
It’s the people they have hurt and the people to whom they didn’t say
the things they needed to.  Kevin was
kind and loving.  He wasn’t perfect
because no one is, but he was good.  As
our reading from Timothy says, he fought the good fight and he finished the

is no good reason for his death, but I hope that at some point, you can learn
from his life—a life that left nothing undone and held no regrets.  What is that thing you have been meaning to
do? Do that thing.  What is the passion
that you have not yet harnessed?  Follow
that passion.  What is the regret that
nags at you that you can’t quite face? 
Face your regrets and seek redemption. 
Don’t let Kevin’s example fade. 
Embody that example.

of my favorite parts of this reading from Mark is: “And leaving the crowd
behind, they took him with them, just as he was.”  I love that image of Jesus being just as he
was.  I wonder if like Kevin, he found
peace on the water.  I wonder if the
reason he snapped at this disciples was because they couldn’t let him be at
peace when the storm raged around them.  Jesus
knew what all of us struggle to remember, that all storms pass eventually and
even when your boat is sinking, God is in the boat with you.