TUESDAY, EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Num 12:1-13; Ps 51:3-7, 12-13; Mt 14:22-36
WALKING ON WATER WITH JESUS
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus goes up the mountain to pray. Later in the evening, he meets the disciples at sea, as their boat is “tossed by the waves.” The faith of the disciples is tested, as, amidst the storm, they see Jesus as a ghost. Their faith in Jesus is probed, whether the belief they had in Jesus was true?
Two things in this episode jump out in particular. First, Jesus invites Peter to do something astounding, and this is also a realization that we too as followers of Jesus are invited to do extraordinary things too. Through the mystery of the Incarnation and his life on earth, Jesus showed us what humans are meant to be. We are meant to be loving, forgiving, compassionate, and merciful. We are meant to question and challenge figures of authority who appear to have forgotten that leadership means service to others first, not the protection of power and position. We are called to be faithful to our deepest convictions and our central identity as beings created in the image and likeness of God. This might seem daunting, but I doubt most of us see it as miraculous. Human history and today’s news, are filled with stories of war, murder, deceit, and the worship of wealth and power. When we look at that long tale, the humanity that Jesus invites us into making him present extraordinarily.
Second, God comes to our rescue. Living in the way of Christ looks pretty daunting when we consider some aspects of the social and political reality in which we live, with human jealousy, selfishness, and pettiness so prevalent. We can probably count on failing or falling short. But God reaches out to us like Jesus reaches out to Peter. Our focus on living the life that Jesus has revealed to us sometimes becomes challenging. But if we are open to and strive for that life, we won’t be allowed to drown. Instead, God will continually invite us to walk on water, and reach out to us in our need, and pull us out of the storms of life.
Response: Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.
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