Christ and Stormy Waters
Just before dawn the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. Caught in the midst of a violent storm, fierce wind blowing, waves pounding, lightning flashing, the disciples see a figure walking toward them on the water. Terrified, they cry out in fear. But Jesus calls out to them, “Take heart, it is I. Have no fear!” Encouraged, impetuous Peter throws caution aside and steps out onto the water and walks toward Jesus. Then, realizing what he has gotten himself into, his faith waivers and he begins to falter and sink as the power of the storm overcomes him. He calls out to Jesus and Jesus reaches out his hand and helps him back into the boat.
Matthew 14:25-32, RSV
This passage brought great comfort and strength to those in the early Church. They were suffering great hardships because of opposition from the Jewish authorities and persecution by the Romans. When they heard this story, they understood that Christ had not forgotten them in the midst of the storms of life and that He was still able to help them by the power of the Spirit.
Our lives, especially in these unusual days, are often like Peter’s. Sometimes we are courageous and brave, standing up for the Gospel and our fellow human beings; and sometimes we are weak, faltering, sinking, denying and thinking only of ourselves. Yet even when we sink into fear and despair, Jesus still reaches His hand out to us in love to reassure us and help us to stand upright.
I doubt that St. Peter ever tried to walk on water again, but he knew that a miracle had occurred—Jesus had saved him—in more ways than one. A reed, blown by the wind of the Jewish authorities and the power of Rome, he became the Rock on which the Church of Jesus Christ was built. The same miracle is available to us. The power of faith in Jesus can free us from our fear and lift us out of the angry waves of life. Jesus says to us, “Have no fear.” If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, even when the waves are lapping at our ankles, He will not let us sink. A miracle of faith, courage and hope will occur. Like Peter, we will become a new creation.