Feeling secure under God’s care
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (Matt 14:22-33)
August 13, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE unexpected violent storm was frightening enough as it tossed the fragile boat with the twelve gasping disciples. Then the apparition of a man walking on the water as on solid ground just made things worse. It could only be a ghost–death itself, perhaps, coming to grab them! . . .
The reassuring words of Jesus, “It is I. Do not be afraid” needed to be verified. Peter thought he could put the Lord to the test. He did not realize that now he was the one going to be tested. His faith was tested. And it was soon obvious that Peter was failing the test. His daring request “Tell me to come to you across the water!” was about to cost him his very life. Good for him that Jesus was at hand. So Peter was saved–a seasoned, strong fisherman rescued by a carpenter/preacher who had seldom seen the sea in his life!
And that was not all! The moment Jesus climbed the boat, “the wind died down!” (Mt 14:32). Thus, that night Peter and his partners added yet another memorable, incredible event to the already long list of unforgettable experiences they had gone through since the day they had met the young itinerant preacher from Nazareth . . . .
There is so much of Peter in each one of us. He is the head of a huge crowd to which we all belong. Though most of us are not fishermen and few may have been at sea in a fragile boat during a hellish night storm, many of us are over-confident, impetuous, lacking constancy . . . like Peter! And our life, from time to time, does resemble the stormy sea of Galilee, too!
Sometimes, after daring too much and having used up the last ounce of our energies, gripped by the terror of the impending disaster, we too have found ourselves crying out: “Lord, save me!” These are the moments when our pride vanishes and the child that is in us, the believer that is in us, surface from the killer waves and bring us to clasp desperately the friendly, steady hand of Jesus, the only one who can lead us to safety.
So we have been saved time and time again not by our skills and resourcefulness, but only by God’s merciful love. And thus, thanks to Him, we have continued our journey through the sea of life ever-confident of the nearness of the God who always protects and saves those who trust in Him.
And having experienced the grips of fear and the sense of being drowned in the tempests of life, we should feel the impulse to extend a friendly hand to those who find themselves in similar situations. Despite our frailty, the Lord may choose us to be the providential instruments of His saving love for some of our brothers and sisters battered by violent storms of various kinds.
How heart-warming to help those in need as channels of God’s love! . . .