The Gospel according to Matthew (14:22-36)
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.
Today’s Gospel story reminded me of a scene from the movie “The Shack”, which we saw during our diaconate formation. In that scene, Mack (the main character in the movie) is told by Jesus to get out of the boat on the lake and walk with Him on the water. Mack is understandably very hesitant, but he goes along, gingerly putting his foot onto the water. Surprisingly to him, the water holds him up and shortly, he and Jesus are joyfully running along the surface of the water. That was probably my favorite scene from that film!
In the story as we have it from Matthew, it’s also important to note how Jesus greets His disciples in the boat on the sea as it is being tossed by the waves. He says, in Greek, “ego eimi”, translated as “I AM”. In essence, Jesus is telling them that they (the disciples) should not be afraid because God Himself (“I AM”) is in their presence. How many times do we feel like our boat is being tossed on furious waves, and feel like we are about to be thrown into the sea to drown? It is those times that Jesus Himself reminds us that He (the great “I AM”) is there with us, ready to get into our boat with us to bring us the calm that only He can bring.
One other thing, though. In the Gospel today, Jesus invites Peter out onto the water. Peter is able to walk on the surface, but when he takes his eyes off Jesus, he begins to sink. To endure the stormy seas, and to walk on that water with Jesus, we have to keep our eyes on Him. The world will do all it can to distract us away, but if we focus on Jesus, we will be able to walk on the water with Him, through all the storms that our lives bring us. May we keep that knowledge in our hearts, so we can take courage and solace in that fact that “I AM” is truly with us through everything we face each day!
Action for the Day:
Take a moment today and reflect on this story, and on the stormy seas you face. Ask Jesus to help you to always keep in mind that He truly is there with you through it all!
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!