Tuesday, August 23, 2016


After the miraculous feeding of the five thousand from two fish and five loaves of bread, Jesus ascends a mountain that He might pray in solitude.  Meanwhile, He has commanded His disciples to get into a ship and to cross over to the other side of the sea.  But (to use a common phrase) as luck would have it (of course there is no such thing as "luck"--only divine providence), they found themselves "in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves."  And it was at this moment of seeming crisis that "Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."

And so is was that those very disciples who would later on hide behind closed doors "for fear of the Jews" cry out in abject terror "It is a spirit!"  The ever impulsive Peter, however--who recently blurted out the silly suggestion that they might build three tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration--cries out to the Lord, "if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water."  And so it was in that instant that the Pre-eminent Apostle is granted the faith and the courage to do just that... but only for so long as he can keep his gaze focused on Jesus, setting aside his natural, self-centered fear. 

But alas!  Like most of us modern day, lukewarm Christians, he is soon enough overwhelmed by worldly distractions.  As soon as he takes his eyes off Jesus, his faith wavers, and he is overcome by fear of the wind and the waves.  But even then, he possesses the presence of mind to cry out in desperation, "Lord, save me!"  And so he is delivered at once from the seemingly inescapable peril set before him: Jesus reaches out His hand and pulls him to safety. 

"O ye of little faith!" our Lord scolds--and this accusation is directed not just to Peter, but to you and I as well.  Like Peter, our faith is weak, and ineffectual to deliver us from the inevitable trials and tribulations of this world, and we find ourselves set adrift without the anchor of hope upon the turbulent sea of life, having lost our way upon the path of salvation and wandered--like the Prodigal Son--into a far country, where we must endure for a time a famine of the life-giving Word of God.

But as St. Paul reminds us--if God is for us, who (or what) can be against us?  The love of God casts out all fear, and if this love abides within our heart, nothing whatsoever can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  If only we keep our spiritual eyes focused on Him--the Author and Finisher of our faith--we shall surely be delivered from every apparent danger in this storm-tossed life and be guided into the safe harbor of salvation.

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