Today’s Thoughts: If you have ever made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land chances are when you visited the Sea of Galilee you took a little boat trip out on to the sea with your group. During you voyage today’s Gospel story might have been read. Now I am guessing when you took your trip it was a beautiful sunny day and the waters were calm but the tour guide or perhaps the priest with you after reading today’s Gospel asked you to pause and think about being in the boat on a stormy sea. They might have asked you to put yourself into the story. What would your reaction be? How would you feel being tossed about in a stormy sea?
It is a stormy scene in today's Gospel and it might be worth taking some time to reflect on the personalities whom we find in today’s story. First, there is Jesus. He has left the disciple and taken some time to pray. Yet ever the Good Shepherd he comes to them in the midst of the storm by walking on the water. It's useless to quibble about what, why and how this walking was accomplished. It is just important to know that Jesus was watching over his sheep like any Good Shepherd.
Our next character is Peter. As we learn throughout the Gospels, Peter is always the impulsive one, he wants to be with Jesus on the water. Is he testing Jesus? Does Peter’s ego get the best of him thus at this moment he wants to be special, he wants to do something miraculous? Who knows what going through Peter’s mind at this moment! What is important is that Peter finds out that he cannot do it alone. So, he asks Jesus for help – “Lord save me!” It is a lesson that we all must learn in times of crisis, we need to put our trust in God and God will save us, perhaps not exactly as we would like but in a way that will ultimately be best for us.
Finally, we have the other disciples who must have just been holding on in the boat for dear life totally awe by what was happening. Imagine their reaction as the winds and waves suddenly stop and the boat became perfectly calm. What was the purpose of this moment in their journey with Jesus? Perhaps it was a moment of faith building. If so I think Jesus’ mission was accomplished because in the Gospel we hear, "Those who were in the boat showed him homage, saying, 'Truly, you are the Son of God.'"
Now just like on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land standing in the midst of a calm boat we might ask ourselves – If we had been there in the storm, would Jesus' words have been directed at us? "O, you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Many of the disciples were fishermen by trade. They knew the sea. They knew its power. They probably had been in a boat before during a storm. Fear can cause even the best of us to doubt. We are asked today to trust in the presence of God in our lives even during life’s storms. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; he always comes to the rescue of those he loves. Why is it that we like the disciples often find it so difficult to trust that Jesus is with us even in the midst of the storms of our life?
Let us have faith and trust today and always in the Good Shepherd, the Faithful Sea Captain – Jesus!
Have a great Tuesday everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...