Sunday August 9

Do not be afraid

Gospel of 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.”

Mary Ward’s companions claim the first and last word she uttered was ‘Jesus’. 

Inspired by this thought, I find myself drawn to focus closely on Jesus in this Gospel.

Again, I see Jesus withdrawing from the crowds to take quiet time on his own. I see Jesus walk up the mountain to be by himself to pray. He was there until dawn.

I wonder how he was feeling. I imagine the conversation he had with his ‘Abba’. What did he say? What did he hear and feel? Why was he there all night? Did he fall asleep in his Abba’s arms and rest a little? He must have been tired, as he had just finished healing the sick and then feeding the crowds. So many stories he had heard, so many faces he had gazed deeply into. Wounds that he had caressed and touched. Fear and pain that he had met with love and watched transformed into joy and wonder. Perhaps he was so full of stories that he wanted to share them with his ‘Abba’. Perhaps as he blessed and broke the bread he came to understand more deeply who he was and what his ‘Abba’ was calling him to. Maybe they had a conversation about this.

After being with his ‘Abba’ in solitude all night, Jesus then comes toward the frightened disciples in the boat. 

Jesus initiates 

Jesus speaks words of consolation

Jesus encourages the stepping out into the seemingly impossible. The leap of faith.

Jesus hears a cry for help

Jesus immediately stretches out his hand and catches.

Jesus speaks to the heart of the matter of personal faith and trust. Encouraging, leading.

Jesus in tune with creation brings stillness.

I wonder how Jesus feels about me right now.

In my prayer, I notice what happens to my heart as I focus on Jesus? 

I respond to Jesus, listening to my heart as I listen to him.