Then he made the disciples get into the 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 him, 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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you; I believe that it is you calling to me across the troubled waters of my daily concerns. I hope in you, and because I hope, I am willing to step out of the boat of my comfort and security to walk towards you in faith. Lord, I love you, and because I love you, I want to keep my eyes always on you, never doubting your love or your power.
Petition: “Lord, save me!”
1. The Boat: The boat that Jesus insists that his disciples get into foreshadows, for some patristic fathers, the mystery of the Church. The Church is likened to a boat because it carries the people of God on a journey towards the house of the Father on the other shore. The boat we could say embarks on a voyage of faith through this life.
Although Christ, the Son of the Father, invites us into his boat, the Church, it is God the Father that guides the boat in his providence even when it seems to those on board that the boat doesn’t seem to be on course. Our voyage of faith requires us to keep on course by fitting our hearts and minds upon Christ who is standing on the other shore directing us where to find the house of the Father. Consequently, the boat’s mission represents the nature of the Church: to be an instrument of salvation for all people. Salvation is living in the household of the Father, along the opposite shore. This is why Christ insists that we get into his boat.
2. The Waves: The waves that toss the boat about on the sea are the vast difficulties that the people of God must face on their voyage of faith. The water that the boat travels upon signifies two things: life and death. Water gives life. Creation depends upon water to quench its thirst, for without it everything withers and dies. The Church gives divine life to her children through the waters of baptism. Despite the fact that water sustains natural life and gives supernatural life in baptism, it can be destructive when stirred by the forces of nature. The great flood in the book of Genesis proves well this reality. When the waves of life, pound the Church and our lives we need to do what the early Christians did: Look to Christ.
3. Christ to the Rescue: In today’s Gospel Jesus clearly manifests his divinity as the Son of God. He demonstrates utter dominion over the natural elements, which serves to prove that he is more than a normal man to his disciples. Jesus perceives fear in his disciples that the boat is in trouble and he comes to their rescue. At first, when the disciples see him walking on the water they cry out in fear not recognizing the Master. Jesus immediately reassures them of his identity. Nonetheless, Peter puts the Lord to the test: “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you across the water.” The Lord responds, “Come.” Peter begins to walk on the water but when the wind and sea become more turbulent fear enters his heart and he begins to sink. Fearing the prospect of drowning, Peter lost faith and cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus extended his hand at once. This scenario is often played out in our own faith journey in the Church. Often in difficult situations we fear drowning. Christ constantly reminds us that he is the Lord. He governs our life through his providence. If we accept the truth of Christ’s divinity and his Lordship over our lives, we will be able to profess like the disciples in the Gospel, “Beyond doubt, you are the Son of God!”
Dialogue: Lord Jesus, thank you for the all the times you have saved me from the waves of doubt and fear. Help me to trust in you when you ask me to do what seems impossible. I know that with you I can do all things, if only I keep my eyes on you. Beyond doubt, Lord Jesus, you are the Son of the living God.
Resolution: Ask God to increase your faith, so as to meet the concrete challenges today offers with total trust in Him.