Mt 14:22-36 (or Mt 15:1-2, 10-14)
Immediately, Jesus obliged his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowd away.
And having sent the people away, he went up the mountain by himself, to pray. At nightfall, he was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves, for the wind was against it.
At daybreak, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. When they saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear. But at once, Jesus said to them, “Courage! Don’t be afraid. It’s me!” Peter answered, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus said to him, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water to go to Jesus. But seeing the strong wind, he was afraid, and began to sink; and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and took hold of him, saying, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As they got into the boat, the wind dropped. Then those in the boat bowed down before Jesus, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God!”
They came ashore at Gennesaret. The local people recognized Jesus and spread the news throughout the region. So they brought to him all the sick people, begging him to let them touch just the hem of his cloak. All who touched it became perfectly well.
Today’s gospel reading contains two important lessons for us, followers of Jesus, and both these lessons are learned from Peter’s behavior.
First, although we tend to concentrate more on Jesus’ criticism of Peter’s “little faith,” we forget that, initially, Peter did muster the courage to leave the security of his boat and try to walk on the raging water. As an experienced fisherman who had lived all his life fishing in the Sea of Galilee, he knew perfectly well that humans cannot walk on water because water is not solid enough a surface to allow that. Yet, he disregarded a lifetime of experience and gamely stepped out on the water. If that is not faith, what else is it?
The second lesson we learn is this one. As long as Peter kept his eyes fixed on Jesus and walked towards Jesus, he could do the impossible. But, the moment he took his eyes off Jesus and instead paid attention to the danger surrounding him, he began to sink.
In other words, if we take Jesus at his word (“Come!”), we can do extraordinary things. But we must not let ourselves become impressed by obstacles. We must just always look at Jesus in complete faith. Then everything becomes possible.
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