REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 3, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Matt. 14:28-29.
The disciples had every reason to fear. They were seasoned fishermen, and they are aware that howling wind and churning wave meant trouble. They had just heard of the beheading of John the Baptist. Would Jesus or even they be the next? in the mist of the night, they saw Jesus walk on the dangerous season. They fear would have been so great, but Jesus says, “courage! It is I! Do not be afraid”. It was here Peter took courage with to make the request to come as reflected in our gospel reference of today.
What a wonderful expression of faith! Peter, caught in stormy conditions on the sea, expressed his complete confidence that if Jesus were to call him out of the boat to walk on water, it would happen. Jesus does call him to Himself, and Peter begins to walk on water. Of course, we know what happened next. Peter was filled with fear and began to sink. Fortunately, Jesus caught him, and all was well.
Today’s story reveals much to us about our own fears, lives of faith and about the goodness of Jesus. Notice that Jesus did not deny that the disciples were afraid instead he offer them the antidote to their fear. Like the disciple we all experience some negative emotion in the form of fear, rage, or anxiety but Jesus offers us peace to overcome them.
Again, so often we begin with faith in our head and have every intention of living that faith. Like Peter, we often make firm resolutions to trust in Jesus and to “walk on water” at His command. However, all too often we experience the same thing Peter did. We start to live the trust we express in Jesus, only to suddenly waver and give in to fear amid our hardship. We begin to sink and have to cry out for help.
In some ways, the ideal would have been if Peter expressed his faith in Jesus and then walked to Him without faltering. But, in other ways, this is the ideal story, in that it reveals the depth of Jesus’ mercy and compassion. It reveals that Jesus will catch us and draw us out of our doubts and fears when our faith gives way. This story is much more about Jesus’ compassion and the extent of His help than it is about Peter’s lack of faith.
Reflect, today, upon any way that you have had great intentions of trusting Jesus, started down that path and then have fallen. Know that Jesus is full of compassion and will reach out to you in your weakness just as He did to Peter. Let Him grab your hand and strengthen your lack of faith out of His abundance of love and mercy.
Lord, I do believe. Help me when I falter. Help me to always turn to You when the storms and challenges of life seem to be too much. May I trust that, in those moments more than any other, You are there reaching out Your hand of grace. Jesus, I trust in You.