We are not in the fields, nor up a high mountain this week…but on the water.

Water can be terrifying – witness a burst water main, a dam overflowing, or in this case, the disciples trying to battle against a “heavy sea[1] And Jesus is not with them, He had been praying by Himself and was now on the shore.

Any sailor will tell you of the perils of battling with the elements, even their skill cannot match the roaring wind nor the crashing high waves. The disciples are under no illusion they are literally in deep waters.

The boat may well be “a symbol of the Church”,[2] sailing amidst a flow of counter Christian values. The Church is tossed about, but ultimately, of course “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.[3]

Jesus calls out to the disciples, as he does to us, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.”[4] Peter embraces this message and begins to walk on the water but suddenly “he took fright and began to sink[5] – his faith fails him. Peter represents us,[6] for our faith too fails on occasions. Doubts creep into our minds all too easily. Doubts creep in when suddenly the waters of life seem to overwhelm us, drowning us, so-to-speak, so that we cannot find our way - row back to the shore, let alone walk on the waters!

But how can we be men or women of such little faith? Surely if we recall how the Lord has watched over us, guided us, led us by the hand through rough waters, to the peace of the harbour, for “by tranquil streams he leads me to restore my spirit.[7]Go into then the boat of the Church, and embrace your Christian life. Hear His voice “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.[8]

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP

[1] Matt. 14: 24

[2] The Collegeville Bible Commentary, p.883

[3] Matt. 16:19

[4] Matt. 14: 27

[5] Matt. 14:30

[6] The Collegeville Bible Commentary, p.883

[7] Ps. 23:2-3

[8] Matt. 14:17

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