Anchored in love, miles offshore

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Gospel of the Day: Matthew 14:22–33

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.”

Quote of the Day

In Conversation With God, Vol. 4 by Francis Fernandez

55.3 Confidence in God. He never arrives late to rescue us, if we go to him with faith and use the means available to us.

Peter stayed on his feet — even when facing the greatest difficulties —  as long as he acted with supernatural outlook, with faith, with confidence in the Lord. Later, in order to stay afloat, to receive God’s help, he had to cooperate, because when our cooperation is lacking divine help also ceases [Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Matthew’s Gospel, 50, 2] . It was our Lord who helped him to go on.

The experience of our personal weakness will serve for us to find Jesus who puts out his hand and enters our heart, giving us great peace in the midst of any trial. We should learn never to be afraid of God, who presents himself in ordinary things, as well as in the physical and moral sufferings we may experience in our lives. Have confidence; it is I, do not fear. God never delays coming to our rescue, and never fails to remedy every need. He arrives — at times in a hidden and mysterious way — at the opportune time. And when, for whatever reason, we find ourselves in a difficult situation — with the wind against  us — He comes close to us. He may pass as if to continue on so that we will call out to him, but He will not delay in coming to our side when we do.

If at times we realize that we are out of our depth, that we are sinking, we should repeat with Peter, Lord, save me! We should neither doubt  his Love nor his merciful hand. We should not forget that God does not demand the impossible. Instead, when He makes a request, He asks that we do what we can do, that we ask for what we cannot do and for his help to carry it out. [Saint Augustine, On nature and grace, 43]

What certainty our Lord gives us! He has guaranteed his protection. I do not depend on my own strength, my certainty, my tranquil haven. Even if the entire world is shaken, I read the written word I carry with me, for it is my fortress, my defence. And what does this word tell me? “I will be with you until the end of the world” it says.

Christ is with me. What shall I fear? Let the waves of the sea and the fury of the powerful come upon me. That will not weight me down any more than a spider’s web. [Saint John Chrysostom, Homily before departing for the desert] Let us not let go of his hand. He does not let go of ours.

We end our prayer asking Our Lady to intercede for us. She will help us to cry out confidently the liturgical prayer, Renew O Lord, the marvels of your love. [Divine Office, Sunday of the Third Week, Vespers] May we live firmly anchored in your love.