Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ lt was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God’.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Fr Donal Neary, S.J
Gospel Reflections for the Year of Matthew
A hand to be held
A most strange gospel story – Jesus walks on the water. It’s the type of gospel that suits a decision time, challenging us into deep trust – an invitation to come to the water; not to be afraid. It’s about trusting in Jesus, when there is nothing else. If you have human help, it’s great – but not the same as trusting in God.
In time of death, the call is to trust in God’s promise, because he is the way and the truth. Old age can be the same, or times in life when we just don’t know what the future will hold. It sounds unusual, but what Jesus does in this situation is very human. He doesn’t lecture or say a prayer, he just holds hands. Someone was given a book on bereavement after a family death – he said he needed a hand to be held, or his tears to be heard. That’s Jesus. He held Peter. God is a God with skin, with a human heart, and leaves big ideas behind when we are in trouble. Jesus just went across the lake, stopping his comfortable prayer.
There are times when we just need to hold on to God in trust. On another occasion Peter would jump into the lake again – after the resurrection. Always a water man! Then he would be asked not just to hold a hand, but to be the hand that would reach out to others. Peter was prepared for his mission in many ways. As Pope Francis says, ‘When the Lord wants to give us a mission, wants to give us a task, He prepares us. He prepares us to do it well’ (June 2014).
Remember a time when all you seemed to have was God; thank him.
Or recall when all you needed was God; ask him now for help.
Lord, in you I put my trust
Gospel and Gosple Reflection are taken from Mass Readings and Sunday Homily - Catholicireland.net.