Gospel Reflection Aug 13 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, August 13
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.”
This weekend we celebrate the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, and we backtrack a bit from last week and go to Matthew chapter 14 before the Transfiguration in chapter 17.
In this powerful scene of Jesus’ divinity, He reminds his disciples (his followers) of who He is, the Son of God, through his divine and miraculous actions and commands. He literally walks on water and commands Peter to as well. This is not some legend or myth, this is not some action that is meant to be watered down! Jesus is inviting His disciples to believe, to have faith in Him and He will allow them to walk on water.
At first it is more than troublesome for his disciples as they think they see a ghost, and again the thought that they are dying or will perish in the sea is real. Jesus comes to their aid. Jesus reassures them not to be afraid. Peter then pipes up and says “if it is you then command me to come to you on the water!” Jesus does this and Peter begins to walk on water but as soon as Peter takes his eyes off our Lord what happens? He begins to sink. Isn’t this true for us? When we walk with faith it is not because of any good things we do, rather it is because of the gift of the Grace of God manifest in His Son, and once we take our eyes off of the Lord, faith can ebb and flow in our life, but if you have faith, you have a gift. Some are offered this gift and do not accept it. We as Christians do accept it and are therefore prompted to do things in and of the Lord which without faith would not be possible.
Sisters and Brothers, remember we are saved by grace through faith working itself out in love, we did not do anything to deserve it. Jesus provides the grace, whether we believe or not, even to walk on water. Our faith has no bearing on who God is or what God can do, rather grace and faith leads us to surrender (just as Peter did, even if momentarily) more of who we are, so that we can be transformed into whom God calls us to be.
Jesus offers us personal intimacy that no human can provide, and in that great and ineffable grace, love, and mercy He transforms and heals. Finally, He reminds us that it does take something, but not much for Him to work with us as we are reminded in another chapter of Matthew we recently heard, simply “the Faith of Mustard Seed”.
May God’s grace continue to work in your lives and strengthen your faith, just as over time we see Jesus’s best friends faith increase. Here is a good prayer, “Lord help me to decrease so that you may increase in my life.” St. Brigid of Kildare. Pray for us!