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.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 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.
Reflection: In today’s Gospel, we have the wonderful re-telling of the story of Jesus walking on the water to His disciples, who were being tossed here and there in their small boat on the Sea of Galilee. And, we have the part Peter played, first in stepping out onto the sea at Jesus’ invitation, and then, the humbling follow-up where he takes his eyes off of Jesus and begins to sink into the waves. In a lot of ways, it’s our faith life in a nutshell!
We can often feel like we are being tossed here and there on the seas of life. This past week, at our house, we had our water heater quit working properly, a clogged up kitchen sink, and an unexpected repair for our car. In the grand scheme of things, none of those items were really that bad, but the way they piled on, one after the other, certainly made it seem like the McDaniels family boat was encountering some very heavy waves.
In those moments, though, Jesus comes to us, saying “ego eimi” – “I AM” – “I am with you, always!” Jesus never really leaves us. We just turn away, or, like Peter, we take our eyes off of Him. It’s easy to blame Him for the struggles we face, or the situations that appear in our path, but He doesn’t make those things happen to us. Jesus never promised that our lives would be trouble-free. No, He promised that He would be there, walking with us through those troubles that come. We just have to recognize that He is with us in our boat on the sea, and we just have to remind ourselves to do our best not to take our eyes off of Him.
Action for the Day: If your boat is on rough seas today, pause and ask Jesus to be there with You, and to give you the strength and ability to get through that difficult time. And, if the seas are tranquil in your life, give thanks, and go and share that peace with someone today!
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