19th Sunday of the Year: Jesus walks on the water

Study:  Recall a moment in life when you were doubtful or afraid.  How did you face it?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the strength and wisdom to face doubts and fears.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is struggling with doubts or fears?  How might you help them?

Mass Readings – 19th Sunday of the Year

This Gospel story (Matthew 14:22-33) follows immediately after the feeding of the 5000.  Here’s a quick recap:

* Jesus hears of the death of John the Baptist
* Jesus seeks solitude in a deserted place
* The crowds find Jesus; he ministers to them
* Jesus feeds the hungry with fishes & bread

After the people have eaten, the Lord makes the disciples get into a boat while he dismisses the crowd.  The following events occur:
1.  The disciples are in the boat on the water
2.  Jesus goes up the mountain to pray alone
3.  The wind and the waves are getting strong
4.  Late at night Jesus comes on the water
5.  Seeing Jesus, the disciples are terrified
6.  Jesus, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
7.  Peter to Jesus “Command me to come to you.”
8.  Peter goes to Jesus, is frightened and sinks
9.  Jesus rescues Peter “Why did you doubt?”
10. The disciples:  “Truly you are the Son of God!”

Note that Matthew’s Gospel differs from Mark’s account (6:45-52) in three ways:
1.  The dialogue between Jesus and Peter
2.  Peter walking (sort of) on the water
3.  Confession of faith – Jesus the Son of God

The story speaks of Peter’s desire to follow Jesus, even as it clearly shows his human weakness.  Peter tries, fails, and calls upon Jesus to save him in his need.  As a result, the disciples recognize the Son of God in their midst.

The early Church took this passage to heart.  Like the boat tossed on the waters, early Christians knew all too well the dangers of faith – risking their lives to follow Jesus.  Like Peter, they had their moments of weakness; like Peter, they called upon the Lord in their need.

We can see ourselves in this situation as well.  There are times when we desperately want a strong and steadfast faith; we seek the Lord and desire to follow His path for our lives.  Yet we are also aware of our limitations, failures, and fears.  May we, like Peter, call upon Jesus in our need; may we trust in the Lord’s strength and love to save us.

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: