Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In today’s Gospel reading, Matthew juxtaposes the prayerful serenity of the mountain on “high” with the roaring chaos of the sea. For many of us, our lives can feel like the restless sea. We constantly encounter all kinds of movements every day that may take us to uncharted waters. Unfortunately we do not always have the advantage of having a mountain top view. Like Peter we look down at the water and the fear sets in. We stop moving forward. We stop taking risks.
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola’s second rule discernment  cautions that a common tactic of the evil spirit is to “bite, sadden, and place obstacles […] so that a person might not go forward.” He advises that if we are hindered from moving forward because of feelings of fear, weakness, unrest, and distrust, then we should continue moving forward toward that which will lead us to generosity, peace, love, and care for others. In other words, he advocates that persistence overcomes resistance.
Can you locate places in your life where fear has kept you from walking towards God? What might you want to ask of God to help you continue walking towards him?
Lord, in many ways we, too, are like Peter. When we take our eyes off of you, life can become overwhelming. Help us to refocus on you and therein remember what really matters in life. We know the waves will come and torrential winds will shake our foundation. There is no escaping this.
But through it all we have your assurance that nothing can separate us from you. Though you might seem so distant, we will not claim this as our truth. Instead you seek us in the dark of night and promise to bring us into the light.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!