Home » Gospel Reflections » August 13, 2023: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel reflection

August 13, 2023: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33 (Bible Translation: The Message by Eugene H. Peterson)

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountains so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter, suddenly bold, said “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”


Ever notice the frequent use of the words fear and faith in the Gospels? Jesus truly does “get” us. We are afraid and we struggle to have faith. He keeps up with reminders and admonishments. We continue to falter and question.

I have a sense that I would be helped by attuning more to the connections between fear and faith. I rarely feel one without the other. Is that your experience? There has to be something to this and I am interested in exploring more.

Is it possible to deepen (or even have) faith in the absence of fear?

It there a sweet spot in human life where faith exists and fear is absent?

Are they opposites?

Is fear a pathway to faith?

Can fear illumine my life of faith?


Join in the conversation about faith and fear! Share a comment with the Providence Community about questions or thoughts you find arising.

Share this:

Alice Shelton

Alice Shelton

Providence Associate Alice Shelton lives in Indianapolis with her husband John. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and enjoys her work as director of business services at Marian University.

Subscribe to the weekly Gospel reflection

Sign up to receive the weekly Gospel reflection in your inbox each week.

Meet Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Leader, teacher, immigrant, healer. Saint of God.

Learn more


  1. Avatar Steve Modde on August 10, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    You pose good questions. Some sort of fear has always been there in my life. Yes, fear illumines my faith. You caused me to do some fishing around. Here’s my best answer: “What strength the soul draws from prayer. In the midst of a storm, how sweet is the calm it finds in the heart of Jesus. But what comfort is there for those who do not pray?” St. Mother Theodore Guerin She also wrote: “When one has nothing more to lose, the heart is inaccessible to fear.” Your thoughts and hers are what I needed at this stage in my life. Thanks Alice!

  2. Avatar Debbie Griffey on August 11, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    Like Steve, fear has always been a part of my life. And like Steve, I often turn to St Mother Theodore Guerin because she did not allow fear to ground or stop her. I also take comfort in II Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’

    Because I work with military members, I also find comfort in Psalm 91:1-8, ‘The Soldier’s Psalm’, particularly verse 4: ‘He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.’ As an introvert I face fear every day. it leads me straight to my faith and I am never alone with my fear.

    Thank you, Alice. Very thought-provoking.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.