9th Sunday of Matthew

The Reading is from Matthew 14:22-34

At that time, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they entered the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.

This has to be one of my favorite passages from Scripture. I love the image that we see here. We have all of the apostles in the boat and the weather gets bad. Jesus comes along and straight away everyone thinks he is a ghost. Let us not forget he has healed the sick, raised the dead, etc. why not walk on water?

So then we see my hero Peter. I love Peter, he is what it is all about. When I went into Monastery years ago I choose the name Peter as my name in religion. My given name is Michael. The abbot asked me why I chose Peter and I said, well his name day is my birthday, and he always seemed to be putting his foot in his mouth. I love Peter!

So Peter steps out of the boat and does fine for awhile, then he figures out where he is and gets scared and starts to sink, so Jesus saves him and brings his back to the boat.

Peter is a symbol of the church in this passage as well as many others. Peter is the church, the church steps out in faith at the call of Jesus. Then we start to want to do it on our own, and what happened to Peter, he started to sink, and that is what is happening to the church. We have taken our eyes off of Jesus and we are sinking!

We need to focus on what we are supposed to be focused on. Jesus will guide us and save us if we but follow Him. So what about the ones left in the boat? They are the ones that are afraid to step out and make a difference. There are some that like to stay out of the wind and rain and just go on with life and don’t bother anyone. I am sorry but Christians are supposed to bother people. We are the light that is supposed to shine in the dark places. We are the ones that are supposed to say, HEY that’s not right, and work to change things. We can no longer hide in the boat. To stay withe fishing theme, it is time to fish or cut bait!

Step out of the boat. Step out of your comfort zone, but don’t do it alone, do it with Jesus and you too will walk on water!

Icon and Gospel Passage from www.goarch.org

1 Comment

  1. Fr. Peter: Peter falters because we are not called to walk alone, but to be upheld by the hand of Jesus, who prevents us from falling along the wayside. Life with Jesus gives us stability. Apart from Him, fear and lonliness. Peter demonstrates what faith is: reaching for the hand of Jesus, which is always there because He knows that we need Him.

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