August 13, 2017: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, 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 Peter, 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.” (Matthew 14:22-33)
In today’s gospel we are given a glimpse of many facets of the human Jesus. First Jesus was a man of prayer. I love to think about Jesus at prayer — alone but not alone. He is away from the crowds but alone with his Abba Father — being in God’s presence, experiencing God’s love, and being reminded that God will always be with him. Then, strengthened by that time of prayer, Jesus goes out again to be with his disciples — walking on the water — a glimpse of the divine Jesus. Then we catch a glimpse of Jesus with his friends, challenging them to let go of their fears, to step out of their comfort zones, to ‘walk on water,’ too. Yet Jesus understands Peter’s fears, he reaches out, touches him and perhaps chides him, just a little, smiling to himself at Peter’s quick loss of courage. And always, Jesus loves him.
Let’s remember as we are in prayer this week that it is time alone with God that strengthens us to be present to each challenge we face, always knowing that God will reach out to us in the times we fear or lose courage. God loves us too!