Gospel Meditation

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“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.” How can we describe Peter? At once faithful and fearful, his jumbled responses remind us that he was no spiritual superman, well intentioned though he may have been. Peter wanted to believe, and in fact showed a great deal of confidence in Christ, but the temptation to doubt was strong enough to knock him off his feet, literally.

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus reprimanded Peter. The words seem harsh. After all, Peter was the only one who had enough faith to even try something as ludicrous as stepping out of the boat onto the water in the first place. But perhaps Jesus wanted to emphasize that our faith needs to be strong enough to weather the storm, so to speak.

If we only believe in Jesus when the wind is calm and the waves are gone, is that truly having faith in him? Is that actually trusting in his supreme power over the forces of the universe? Peter began to sink as soon as a challenge appeared. Jesus called him, and he calls us, to stay on our feet even when the winds begin to blow.

So, what are the winds that threaten our faith? What kinds of gusts are blowing today? Whatever it might be—health problems, financial concerns, relational struggles—none of it is too much for Jesus to handle. But we must step out in faith and trust him! And we need to keep our eyes on him as we do so, instead of getting distracted by the force of the challenges we face. Jesus is bigger than any problem. We have nothing to fear as long as we are walking towards him.
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